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Full text of "Early religious poetry of the Hebrews"

FROM THE LIBRARY OF 



REV. LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, D. D. 



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The Cambridge Manuals of Science and 
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EARLY RELIGIOUS POETRY OF 
THE HEBREWS 



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INTRODUCTION 

The title "Early Religious Poetry of the 
Hebrews" needs a further definition. It is intended 
to embrace the Poetry of Old Testament times as 
distinguished from the Poetry of the Synagogue. 
This will fix our period. But what are we to under- 
stand by Religious Poetry ? 

The Poet is the man whose whole being is in 
touch with those voices of God that we call "Nature." 
He may, or he may not, be a religious man. In other 
words, he may, or he may not, recognise the Source 
of those voices. The Prophet, on the other hand, 
is the man whose whole being is in touch with the 
voices of God in Humanity. He must be, more or 
less, a poet, in the sense in which we have defined 
the word, but his chief sphere will be the poetry of 
life. His message will necessarily be conditioned by 
the age in which he lives. He has his treasure in an 
"earthen vessel" and "he prophesies in part." 

This that is true of individuals is also true of 
nations. Each nation has its peculiar gift, and Israel 
is the Prophet of Humanity. When, therefore, we 
speak of the Religious Poetry of Israel we include the 



vi INTRODUCTION 

whole outcome of that probation whereby the Suffer- 
ing Nation was fitted to prepare the world for God. 
Thus, for example, there is little that is "religious" 
in the Song of Deborah or even in David's lamentation 
for Saul and Jonathan, but, from our point of view, 
all such poems must be included, marking, as they 
do, a stage in Israel's life. 

We now turn to the outward form whereby Hebrew 
poetry is distinguished. I have no desire to repeat 
at length what has been so often written on parallelism 
as a feature of Hebrew poetry. And yet a word 
must be said. Parallelism may take the unsatisfying 
form of identity when it becomes a mere echo ; though 
this too may be effective, e.g. Is. xv. 1 : 

In a night 'tis destroyed, Ar-M6ab is ruined. 
In a night 'tis destroyed, Kir-M6ab is ruined. 

More frequently the words are varied while the 
thought remains the same, e.g. Pro v. iii. 9 : 

Honour the Lord with thy wealth, 
And with chiefest of all thine increase. 

At other times the parallelism adds to the thought 
either by way of development or antithesis. 

Or again, the parallelism may be alternate when 
it suggests the strophe, e.g. Ps. lxx. 5 : 

(a) As for me — the poor-one, the needy ! — 

(b) Speed to me, God. 
(#i) My Helper, Deliverer, Th6u ! 

(£>i) Jahve delay not. 



INTRODUCTION vii 

The "riddle" of Samson (Judg. xiv. 14, 18) : 

(a) Out of the feeder came food 

(b) And out of the fierce there came sweetness 

is answered by completing the parallelism thus : 

(bi) What is there sweeter than honey ? 
(aj) And what can be fiercer than lion ? 

It is just this symmetry of thought that satisfies 
not the ear alone but also the mind, and gives such 
dignity and grace to Hebrew poetry. Kautzsch (Die 
Poesie unci die poetischen Biicher des A. T. p. 6 f.) 
well points out the analogy between rhyme and 
parallelism by quoting from Faust, Part II, the 
words of Helena which, in Latham's translation, run 
thus : 

"Manifold marvels do I see and hear. 
Amazement smites me, much I fain would ask. 
Yet would I be enlightened why the speech 
Of this man rang so strange, so strange yet pleasing. 
It seemed as did one tone unto another 
Fit itself, fell one word upon the ear, 
And straight another came to dally with it." 

[See the whole passage.] 

If, in the last line but one, we substitute sentence 
for word we have, as Kautzsch says, the secret of 
parallelism. 

" That which the Prince of Poets here reveals as 
to the nature of Rhyme, that it is the outcome of 



viii INTRODUCTION 

a certain inner compulsion, applies also to the 
Parallelism of Members in Hebrew Poetry. Thus, 
of it too we may say : 

Scarce has a sentence fallen on the ear 
When straight another comes to fondle it." 

He also quotes Herder as saying : "Does not all 
rhythm, dance and harmony, yes every charm both of 
shape and sound, depend upon symmetry ? The two 
members strengthen, raise, confirm one another in 
their teaching or joy. In didactic poetry one saying 
confirms the other. It is as though the father spoke 
to his sons and the mother repeated it" 

With this rhyme of thought the Hebrew poet did 
not need the rhyme of words, though the Hebrew 
language with its pronominal affixes would have 
easily lent itself to rhyme. Indeed, at times it comes 
unsought (e.g. Ps. vi., liv. 3f.; Job x. 9 — 18, &c). It 
could not be otherwise. But it is an entire mistake 
to suppose that rhyme was ever consciously sought 
by any Hebrew r poet of Old Testament times. 

The same may be said of metre if, by that term, 
we denote the measured beat of long and short 
syllables. The metre that is most common in Hebrew 
poetry is that of three accented syllables in parallelism. 
This we indicate by (3 + 3). Some writers on Hebrew 
poetry have called these verses hexameters, but such 
a term leads us to count syllables instead of accents. 
I shall therefore avoid it. No doubt there are 



INTRODUCTION ix 

instances in which the (3 + 3) metre might, with a 
little careful reading, be scanned as hexameter, but 
this is not due to the measure of the syllables but to 
the stress of the accent. 

Thus, if we take the line Prov. xxiv. 30 and read 
it strictly by the accents, passing as lightly as possible 
over all other syllables, it would run as follows : 
al-s 5 deh ish-'atzel 'avarti | v'al-kerem adam h'sar-lev. 

I should translate this : 

I passed by the field of a sluggard | by a vine that 
belonged to a fool. 

The passage continues as follows : 

And 16 ! 'twas grown over with rubbish | and the fence 
of its stones was thrown down. 

The difficult word for "rubbish" gave rise to a gloss 
" nettles had covered its face." 

From this point the metre becomes irregular 
and we see that the text has been influenced by a 
quotation from Prov. vi. 10 : 

As for me I laid it to heart ; | I saw and received instruction. 
A little sleep, a little slumber, 
A little folding of hands for repose ; 

Then comes along striding thy poverty | and thy need as a 
man with a shield. 

It would be easy to find verses that would scan, 
e.g. Ps. liv. 3 : 

Elohim b'shim'ka hoshleyni 
Ubigvurath'ka t'dlneyni. 



x INTRODUCTION 

Nor would it be difficult to find hexameters and 
pentameters, e.g. in the Balaam poems : but, for my 
part, I agree with Mr Cobb, who, after carefully 
examining the regular and irregular forms, writes 
as follows : 

"What shall we say to these things? Surely we 
cannot continue to say that English verse is parallel 
with Hebrew. Nothing like this was ever written 
in English in the name of poetry unless by Walt 
Whitman.... If all the poetry of the Hebrew Bible 
were stored in our memories, we could point to 
nothing more metrically regular than are some of the 
Psalms which have been before us, and to nothing 
less regular than are others of those Psalms. But 
it would be a mistake to suppose that the two 
classes are equal in extent ; the irregular poems 
greatly predominate " (Systems of Hebrew Metre, 
p. 30). 

It is highly probable that Hebrew " metre " con- 
sisted, not in long and short syllables but in the 
rhythmical beat of the accent. It is in this sense 
that I shall use the word metre as applied to Hebrew 
in the following pages. In dealing with the ir- 
regularities of Hebrew metre the question naturally 
arises as to the correctness of the text. But the 
knowledge of Hebrew verse is not yet sufficiently 
advanced to justify us in correcting the text in 
favour of any metrical theory unless we can support 



INTRODUCTION xi 

the change on independent grounds. In the chapters 
which follow we shall have occasion, from time to 
time, to offer a few suggestions on this subject. 

The following facts greatly increase the difficulty 
of determining the laws of Hebrew verse. 

(1) We cannot be sure that the Masoretic vowels 
and accents represent the ancient pronunciation of 
the language. 

Strictly speaking, each word has one accent which 
is either ultimate or penultimate ; but, in poetry, 
some of the longer words may have a subsidiary 
accent which falls on an earlier syllable, e.g. legdr- 
geroihflia, Prov. i. 9. 

Where two words are joined together by a hyphen 
called Maqqef the former loses its accent : but the 
Masoretic use of Maqqef cannot be trusted in 
Hebrew poetry ; it is often omitted when it ought 
to be used and used when it ought to be omitted. 

(2) The duplicate texts that have come down to 
us (e.g. Ps. xiv. with Ps. liii. ; Ps. xl. 13 — 17 with 
Ps. lxx. ; Ps. lx. 5—12 with Ps. cviii. ; Ps. lxxi. 1—3 
with Ps. xxxi. 1 ff. ; Ps. cviii. 1 — 5 with Ps. lvii. 
7 — 11 ; 2 Sam. xxii. with Ps. xviii.) shew that the 
Divine Names constantly changed and that, in many 
other respects, the text was not accurately pre- 
served. 

Those who are familiar with the changes that 
have taken place in popular Hymns will easily 



xii INTRODUCTION 

understand that the Hebrew Psalter would be 
specially liable to change. 

Though rhyme is only an accident in Hebrew 
poetry, assonance and paronomasia play an important 
part, and since it is impossible to reproduce the effect 
in a translation, it will be necessary here to give 
some examples in the original. The pitiful cry of 
the final I (pronounced like a long e as in me) is 
frequent in lamentation. Thus the lament of David 
over Absalom is far more pathetic in the original, 
which we may transliterate as follows : 

B'ni Abshaloni, b'ni b'ni Abshalom ! 
Mi yitten muthi, &ni tachteka, 
Abshalom b'ni b'ni ! 

The same effect is very frequent in the Book of 
Job. We have also an instance in the Song of 
Lamech (Gen. iv. 23), clearly shewing that the Song, 
at all events in its original form, was no triumph- 
song but an elegy. Thus : 

Ada v'Tzilla shema'an qoli 
Neshe-Lemek ha'azena imrathi 
Ki isch haragti lephitzi 
V'yeled l'chaburathi. 

We may also (with Kautzsch) note the mocking 
sound enu in Judg. xvi. 24, where the Philistines, 
rejoicing over the fall of Samson, say "Our God hath 
given into our hand our enemy, that laid waste our 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

land, and that multiplied our slain." In the original 
thus : 

Xathan elohenu bej&dhiu eth-oyZvenu 
V'eth machariv zrtzeiiu 
Washer hirba eth-ch'lal£/iu. 

We can scarcely suppose that these words were 
actually used by the Philistines. The recurring enu 
suggests the peevish cry of children ; and, indeed, 
the words must have been intended to mock the 
speakers. 

The language of Jeremiah expresses at times the 
very depths of sorrow. Thus Jer. viii. 18 : 

Mabligithi ( i£lav yagon | 'alai libi davai. 

Read slowly and note the spondee effect of the last 
three words. 

We may translate thus : 

Would I comfort myself against sorrow | my heart — in 
me — is faint. 

The heart and courage that should support him is 
itself a source of weakness ; for, as he goes on to say : 

Harvest is past — Summer is ended — And we are unsaved ! 

Assonance and paronomasia often render trans- 
lation quite inadequate, e.g. Gen. ix. 27 : 

Yaft Elohim t Yefeth | v'yishk6n b'aWi-Shem. 
" God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall dwell in the tent* of 
Shenr'(E.V.). 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

Here we have not merely the play upon the name 
Japheth but also, I think, a double meaning given 
to the name Shem, which may signify "renown" 
(Num. xvi. 2). 

Sometimes in addition to assonance we have the 
root-meaning of a verb brought out, as when Isaiah 
(vii. 9) says : 

Im lo tha'ammu ki lo theamenu. 

"If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established" (E.V.). 

Here the verb amain " to believe " is used in two 
voices with a deep inner meaning which we might 
paraphrase 

" If ye will not stay yourselves (on God), ye shall not be stayed 

In my translations I have done my best to imitate 
the rhythm of the Hebrew, but I must ask the reader 
kindly to bear in mind the fact that the terseness 
of Hebrew renders translation difficult, especially in 
the short lines of verse. In a little book, like the 
present, notes on the translation would, for the most 
part, be out of place ; I fear, therefore, that I may, 
at times, appear to be unduly dogmatic. This must 
be pardoned from the necessity of the case. 

I have translated the Tetragrammaton by Jdhve 
simply because Jehovah is an impossible form and 
Jdhve has passed into common use. I have also 
assumed the popular pronunciation with penultimate 



INTRODUCTION xv 

accent, although, if such a name existed, its accent 
ought to be ultimate. In the same way I have 
adopted the English pronunciation of many proper 
names, e.g. Deborah instead of the Hebrew Deborah. 
Since Hebrew poetry does not depend upon long 
and short syllables but upon the beat of the accent, 
I must ask the reader strictly to observe the accents 
which I have marked in my translations. 

E. G. K. 

18 January, 1911. 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

Introduction v 

I. The Earliest Poetry 1 

II. The Poetry of the Early Kingdom , . . 17 

III. The Kinah .39 

IV. Acrostic, or Alphabetical, Poetry .... 54 

V. The Problem of Suffering 74 

VI. On the Strophe 103 

VII. On Dramatic Lyrics 121 

VIII. The Poetry of the Seasons 132 

Bibliography 154 

Index 155 



o 



CHAPTER I 

THE EARLIEST POETRY 

The English reader who knows how the language 
of Chaucer differs from that of Shakespeare will 
naturally expect the earliest poetry of the Hebrews 
to be clearly marked by archaisms. It is well there- 
fore to state at once that this is not the case. Of 
course there are archaic forms, but fragments of 
Songs and popular poetry which have been preserved 
in the Hexateuch have come down to us in the 
language of the Prophetic Writers of the 8th century 
B.C. Thus, the Song of Lamech (Gen. iv. 23 f.), reads 
as follows : 

" Ada and Tzillah, | Hear my voice ; 
Wives of Lamech | hearken to my speech : 
For a man I have slain to my wound ; 
A youth to my hurt. 
If sevenfold vengeance be Cain's 
Then Lamech's be seventy-seven." 

If these words had been the actual words of 
Lamech they would have been not merely archaic 
but probably not even Semitic. In point of fact they 

K. l 



2 OLD TEXTS MODIFIED [oh. 

are pure Hebrew written in the Kinah or elegiac 
measure of which we shall have occasion hereafter to 
speak. It is quite probable that the Song was 
founded upon some Kenite (Cain) tradition connected 
with the discovery of metal weapons (cf. v. 22) ; for 
the Kenites were the smiths of the ancient world. 
But the Song in its present form is due to the 
Jehovist, i.e. to a prophetic writer of the 8th century 
B.C. whose object is to trace the downward course 
of the race of Cain to this Lamech, the seventh from 
Adam shewing the fruits of murder augmented from 
"seven-fold" to "seventy times seven." 

It is interesting to note that in Gen. v. 29 (which 
is also assigned to a Jehovistic writer) we read of the 
other Lamech, of the race of Seth, "...and he called 
his name Noah, saying, This one shall comfort 
(VNjfjDd) us for our works and for the toil of our 
hands from the ground which Jahve hath cursed." 

The Hebrew words for "vengeance" (NKM) and 
"comfort" (NQM) are practically identical in sound. 
The good Lamech of the line of Seth inherits 
"comfort" the bad Lamech of the line of Cain inherits 
"vengeance" 

If we omit the two last lines Lamech's song is a 
complete elegy {Kinah). I suggest that a Prophetic 
Writer (the J 8 of the critics) found this poem in 
some collection of Kenite folk-songs, and, caring 
little for poetry, but much for edification, added the 



I] THE EARLIEST POETRY 3 

two last prosaic lines to make out his allusion to 
Gen. iv. 15. 

Another instance of ancient poetry which appears 
to have degenerated into prose is the quotation from 
the Book of Jashar in Josh. x. 12 f. : 

"Sun stand thou still upon Gibeon; 
And thou moon in the valley of Ajalon." 

It is difficult to believe that a poet would have 
written, Sh&nesh VGibydn ddm, with two accented 
syllables in painful juxtaposition, when, by changing 
the order of the words, he might have written the 
musical line, Sh&nesh ddm VGibydn. As to the 
words which follow, "So the sun stood still and the 
moon stayed," &a, they appear to be simply prose. 

The amount of secular poetry in Israel must, at 
one time, have been very great : thus of Solomon 
alone it is said, "And he spake three thousand 
proverbs, and his songs were a thousand and five. 
And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is 
in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out 
of the wall,..." [1 Kings v. 12 f. (iv. 32 f.)] 

Poetry is older than prose ; and, in ancient Israel, 
every impassioned thought expressed itself in song. 
"It was indispensable to the sports of peace, it was 
a necessity for the rest from the battle, it cheered 
the feast and the marriage (Is. v. 12 ; Amos vi. 5 ; 
Judg. xiv.), it lamented in the hopeless dirge for the 
dead (2 Sam. iii. 33), it united the masses, it blessed 

l~2 



4 COLLECTIONS OF POETRY [oh. 

the individual, and was everywhere the lever of 
culture. Young men and maidens vied with one 
another in learning beautiful songs, and cheered with 
them the festival gatherings of the villages, and the 
still higher assemblies at the sanctuary of the tribes. 
The maidens at Shilo went yearly with songs and 
dances into the vineyards (Judg. xxi. 19), and those 
of Gilead repeated the sad story of Jephtha's daughter 
(Judg. xi. 40) ; the boys learned David's lament over 
Jonathan (2 Sam. i. 18) ; shepherds and hunters at 
their evening rests by the springs of the wilderness 
sang songs to the accompaniment of the flute (Judg. v. 
11). The discovery of a fountain was the occasion of 
joy and song (Num. xxi. 17). The smith boasted 
defiantly of the products of his labour (Gen. iv. 23). 
Riddles and witty sayings enlivened the social meal 
(Judg. xiv. 12 ; 1 Kings x.). Even into the lowest 
spheres the spirit of poetry wandered and ministered 
to the most ignoble pursuits (Is. xxiii. 15 ff.)V 

But, however much we may regret the fact, the 
secular poetry of Israel has not survived, except only 
in those cases where it was taken over into the service 
of Religion. 

At a very early date the poetry of Israel, which 
had lived from mouth to mouth, was collected in 
a written form. One of these collections was called 

1 Reuss, Art. "Heb. Poesie," Herzog. Encylcl. quoted by Briggs. 



i] THE EARLIEST POETRY 5 

The Booh of the icars of Jahve, which is quoted in 
Num. xxi. 14 — a very obscure passage. Two other 
Songs are given in the same context (Num. xxi. 17 £ 
and xxi. 27 ff.)> one being the Song of the Well and 
the other a taunt-song recounting a defeat of the 
Moabites. This latter song is introduced by the 
words "They that make taunt-songs say...." 

Kautzsch suggests that both these songs, and 
possibly the groundwork of the Songs of Moses and 
of Miriam (Ex. xv.), may have been preserved in 
this Book of the wars of Jahve. Some also have 
supposed that the words of Moses (Num. xi. 35 f.) on 
the journeying and resting of the Ark were found in 
the same source. 

Another collection of similar date was The Booh 
Jashar, literally The Booh of the Upright, i.e. of 
Israel (?). This Book is quoted twice. First, as the 
origin of Joshua's prayer (Josh. x. 12) : 

" Sun ; stand thou still upon Gibeon, 
And thou Moon in the valley of Ajalon " ; 

and secondly, for David's lament over Saul and 
Jonathan, which must be considered later at length. 
These are the only passages in which the Booh of 
Jashar is mentioned in our present Hebrew text, 
but some have supposed, from the Septuagint text 
(1 Kings viii. 12 f, Greek 3 Kings viii. 53 f.), that the 
words of Solomon at the Dedication of the Temple 



6 SONG OF DEBORAH [ch. 

were also preserved in the Book of Jashar. These 
words might be rendered : 

Jahve thought to dwell in thick-darkness ! 
I have built Thee a House of Exaltation, 
A Home for Thy endless Dwelling. 

Solomon feels that the Temple is to mark a new 
stage in the ever-growing nearness of God. He, 
Who, in earlier times, dwelt in the "thick-darkness" 
(Ex. xx. 21 ; Deut. iv. 11, v. 22), would now dwell in 
the midst of His people. 

The word I have translated "Exaltation" signifies 
"high-dwelling" Similar names are given to many 
Babylonian temples, e.g. E-Sagila, "the lofty House," 
E-Anna "the House of Heaven," E-Zida, "the fixed 
House," &c. 

The Song of Deborah. 

The history, date and text 

It was probably about the year 1200 B.c. when 
the Northern Tribes were reduced to servitude by 
a powerful king named Sisera, possibly a Hittite, who 
headed a federation of "the Kings of Canaan." The 
plain of Esdraelon gave great advantage to his 
numerous horsemen and "chariots of iron"; so "for 
twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of 
Israel" (Judg. iv. 3). The deliverance came through 



I] THE EARLIEST POETRY 7 

Deborah, Israel's Joan of Arc, a woman of the Tribe 
of Issachar (Judg. v. 15), who first stirred up her 
fellow-tribesman, Barak, and through him the Tribes 
of Issachar, Ephraim, Benjamin, West Manasseh, 
Zebulun and Xaphtali. Judah is not mentioned, and 
seems at this time to have been of little importance ; 
Reuben, Gad, Dan and Asher refused the call. The 
six loyal Tribes met Sisera in the plain. The first 
of the many battles of Esdraelon, in the valley of 
Megiddo, resulted in a decisive victory which estab- 
lished not merely the security of Israel in the Xorth 
but which also tended greatly to its religious unity. 

The Song of Deborah which commemorates this 
victory, whether actually composed by her or not, 
is recognised by almost every critic as belonging to 
the age of the events which it records. It is un- 
doubtedly far older than the prose version which 
is contained in Judg. iv. from which, indeed, it differs 
in some important points which need not now be 
discussed. The Song contains archaic forms, one of 
the most important being the verb in v. 7, which 
has given rise to the mistaken translation " Until 
that /, Deborah, arose." The text is, in parts, 
corrupt ; indeed Kautzsch goes so far as to say 
that cv. 8 — 14 "are nothing but a heap of puzzling 



1 In a work like the present critical notes would be out of place. 
The Biblical students may be referred to the following books. Moore, 



8 SOXG OF DEBORAH [ch. 

Analysis of the Song. 

Though we cannot strictly divide the Song into 
strophe and antistrophe, yet there is a relation between 
the Parts which should be carefully studied. 

Part I (vv. 2, 3). Prelude, addressed to "kings" 
and "princes" of a united Israel, bidding them to 
"Bless Jahve" for the "devotedness" of the loyal 
Tribes. 

Part II (vv. 4, 5). A meditation on the victories 
of Jahve at the Exodus. 

Part III (vv. 6 — 8). The low estate to which 
Israel had sunk in the times of the writer — A con- 
trast ! 

Part IV (vv. 9, 10). A second Prelude, addressed 
to the Rulers and Judges, bidding them to "Bless 
Jahve" for the "noble-devotion" of the People — 
Compare Part I. 

Part V (v. 11). The "victory of Jahve" which 
has just been won has freed Israel like a second 
Exodus — Compare Part II. 

Part VI (vv. 12— 15 a and 18). The high estate 
to which Israel has now attained — Contrast Part III. 

If the Song had ended with Part VI it would have 

on Judges, Critical Edition of the Hebrew Text ; G. A. Cooke, The 
History and Song of Deborah; Kautzsch, Literature of the Old 
Testament ; Zapletal, Das Deboralied and various articles in Hastings' 
Dictionary of the Bible. 



i] THE EARLIEST POETRY 9 

had a certain completeness in itself. But the thought 
of the faithful Tribes who are praised in Part VI 
suggests, by way of contrast, 

Part VII (vv. Id — 17). The taunt-song on the 
unfaithful Tribes. 

Part VIII (vv. 19 — 22). A magnificent description 
of the Battle. The star-gods of Canaan fight in their 
orbits for Jahve. The Kishon river of Sisera's home 
rises in torrent to sweep him away ; and the scene ends 
(v. 22) in a marvellous piece of word-painting in which 
the Hebrew pictures the once terrible horses hammer- 
ing their hoofs in headlong flight — "ddavoih dcCdroth 
abbfrdv." Zapletal well translates this verse 

" Da stampfen die Hiife der Rosse ; 
Der Galopp, der Galopp der Renner ! " 

Part IX (vv. 23 — 27) records the events in the 
pursuit. The curse on Meroz for refusing aid and 
a blessing on the Kenite friend of Israel. 

Part X (vv. 28 — 30). A taunt-song picturing the 
scene in Sisera's home. This, from its own point of 
view, is a masterpiece of irony. The text has suffered 
from a double reading in v. 30. 

Metre. 

The Ode is dithyrambic, and the metre irregular. 
For the most part it is 3 + 3 metre but at times it 
breaks into the more lively metre (2 + 2) + (2 + 2). In 



10 SONG OF DEBORAH [ch. 

the two Preludes the metre again varies. I have 
endeavoured to represent this in my translation. 

Part I. Prelude. 

2 For Israel's whole self-abandonment— 
For the People's devotedness 

Bless ye Jahve ! 

3 Hear ye kings ; | hearken ye princes ; 
I of Jahve | I would sing. 

Would hymn of Jahve | Israel's God. 

Part II. The Victories of Jahve at the Exodus. 

4 Jahve when Thou wentest forth from Seir, 
When Thou marchedst from the field of Edom, 
The earth did shake | the heavens dropped, 
The very clouds | dropped water. 

5 Mountains melted | at the presence of Jahve, 
At the presence of Jahve | Israel's God. 

Part III. The low estate to which Israel is reduced/ 

6 In the days of Shamgar ben-A'nath 
In (Israel ?) roads were deserted. 

They stole along by byways, | twisting lanes. 

7 Village-life (?) ceased, | In Israel they ceased, 
Till Deborah rose | as a Mother in Israel. 

8 (The first two lines are corrupt and the whole verse seems 

out of place.) 



Was there shield or dart to be seen 
'Mid the forty thousand of Israel I 



THE EARLIEST POETRY 11 



Part IV. A second Prelude. 

9 My heart is to Israel's leaders 
The People's nobly-devoted-ones, 
Bless ye Jahve ! 

10 Ye that ride on white asses — 
Ye that sit on the divan 

Or that walk by the way 

(Muse upon your* deliverance (1)). 

Part V. The victorious work of Jahve in the present. 

11 From the twang of the archers | at the places for water, 
There let them celebrate | the victories of Jahve, 

His victories for village-life (?) in Israel. 

Now there can go to the gates | a People of God 

Part VI. In contrast icith Part III. 

12 Awake, awake, Deborah ; 
Awake, awake, utter song ; 

Rise up Barak, | lead captive thy captors | thou son of 
Abinoam. 



The two verses which follow are hopelessly corrupt. 
They seem to contain obscure allusions to the Tribes 
of Ephraim, Machir (i.e. Manasseh), Issachar and 
Zebulun who were loyal to Deborah. We pass there- 
fore to the taunt-song directed against the stay-at- 
home Tribes. 

It opens with a play upon the word "divisions" 
which might be translated "rivers" (as in Job xx. 17). 
The dividing rivers of Reuben were a fit emblem of 



12 SONG OF DEBORAH [ch. 

the divided hearts of this " unstable " tribe (cf. 
Gen. xlix. 4). The word translated "sheep/olds" 
(E.V.) is only found here and in Gen. xlix. 14 where 
one of the Tribes is pictured as an ass crouching 
down between the panniers (not sheep folds as E.V.) 
contented to be a burden-bearer, caring only for rest. 
I believe that the word carries the same taunt in the 
Song of Deborah. 

Part VII. The taunt-song. 

15 c Among the divisions of Reuben 

Great were the searchings of heart. 

16 Why didst thou sit 'twixt the panniers 
Harking to the pipings for the flocks ? 
Among the divisions of Reuben 
Great were the searchings of heart. 

17 Gilead abode safe beyond Jordan ; 
And Dan — why stayed he by ships ? 
Asher sat still by his coast-line, 
And abode by his creeks. 

A verse which would seem more in place in Part VI. 

18 Zebulun was a people that held life cheap, 
And Naphtali was in the foremost field. 

Part VIII. The Battle. 

19 Then came kings and fought; 
There fought the kings of Canaan. 

In Ta&nach by the waters of Megiddo 
They took no gain of money. 



i] THE EARLIEST POETRY 13 

20 From heaven fought the stars — 
Fought in their courses 'gainst Sisera, 

21 The river Kishon o'erwhelmed them, 
The torrent-river of Kishon. 

[My soul march on with strength !] 

22 Then were the horse-hoofs hammered 
By his galloping galloping racers 1 . 

Part IX. Events in the pursuit. 

23 Curse ye Meroz, saith Jahve ; 
Curse ye her dwellers with cursing ; 
That they came not to Jahve's help, 
To Jahve's help 'gainst the mighty. 

24 Blessed by women be Jael 
The wife of Heber the Kenite ; 

By women in the tent is she blessed. 

25 Water he asked, | milk she gave ; 
She offered butter | in a lordly dish. 

26 She laid her hand to the tent- pin, 
Her right to the workman's hammer. 
She struck him wounding his head, 
Piercing and striking through his temples. 

27 He sank, he fell, he lay ; 

At her feet he sank, he fell ; 
Where he sank he shattered fell ! 

Part X. The scene shifts to Sisera *s home. 

28 The mother of Sisera | out through the lattice 
Peers through the window | and gleefully calls, 

" Why does his chariot | come so slow ? 
Why tarries the tread of his team ? " 

1 Jer. viii. 16, xlvii. 3. 



14 JOTHAM'S FABLE [oh. 

29 Her ladies, her wisest, reply, 
Yea she herself | answers herself ; 

30 "Are they not finding, | dividing the spoil, 

Double embroidery | for the head of the hero, 
A spoil of dyed garments for Sisera, 
A spoil of dyed garments and 'broidery, 
Of double embroidery for the neck of...." 

The contrast between the Sisera lying dead with 
stricken temples and the Sisera that his mother 
expected, triumphant "in dyed garments" is grim 
indeed. 

An early copyist evidently wrote rhm rhmthym, 
i.e. "a womb two ivornbs" instead of rkm rkmthym, 
i.e. "embroidery double embroidery" which occurs 
later in the same verse. This has given rise to the 
unfortunate translation "a damsel or two" (E.V. and 
R.V.). The last two lines of v. 30 are little more 
than duplicates of the two preceding lines and may 
have originated in this way. 

One other example of the most ancient poetry, 
dating from about 1120 B.C., is Jotham's Fable 
of the trees (Judg. ix. 8 — 15) with its splendid 
irony. 

This Fable of Jotham is undoubtedly in verse, the 
metre being in three beats as follows : 

The trees went forth on a time 
To anoint for themselves a king, 
And they said to the 6live, Rule o'er us. 



I] THE EARLIEST POETRY 15 

But to them the Olive replied, 
"Should I then leave my rich-oil, 
Whereby gods and men get honour, 
And go to wave o'er the trees I " 

Then said the trees to the Fig-tree 
Come thou and be our queen. 
But the fig-tree said unto them, 
"Should I then leave my sweetness 
And that produce of mine so goodly 
And go to wave o'er the trees ? " 

Then said the trees to the Vine, 
Come thou and be our queen. 
But the vine made answer to them ; 
"Should I then leave my vintage, 
That gladdens both gods and men, 
And go to wave o'er the trees ? " 

Then said the trees to the Bramble, 
Come thou and be king over us. 
So the bramble replied to the trees ; 
"If ye are truly anointing 
Me as a king over you 
Then come ye, repose in my shadow ; 
If not, let come fire from the bramble 
And devour the cedars of Lebanon." 

The reader will notice that the olive, fig, and vine 
reply in the same metre (3 + 3 + 3), whereas the 
pompous answer of the bramble is lengthened out 
into five lines (3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3). 

We now pass over a period of about one hundred 
years of silence till we come to the hero-age of David 



16 DAVID'S ELEGY [ch. i 

(<& 1000 B.C.) "the darling of Israel's Songs" i2 Sam. 
xxiii. 1) ; David alike pre-eminent in music and in 
war. The very greatness of David's work creates a 
difficulty : for, as all Law centres round the name 
of Moses, its originator, so well-nigh the whole of 
Psalmody has been ascribed to David. According to 
Amos (vi 5 >. David's name was associated with secular 
poetry and with the invention of musical instruments. 
Fortunately for us. David's lament over Saul and 
Jonathan has been preserved 



CHAPTER II 

THE POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 

The Poetry, of which specimens will be given in 
the present chapter may be said roughly to belong 
to the age of David and Solomon, though we shall 
have occasion to illustrate it from poems of a much 
later date. 

The reader will kindly remember that we are only 
professing to give specimens and not to include or 
even to mention all the poems that might reasonably 
be assigned to the prolific age of David and Solomon. 

Davids Elegy on Saul and Jonathan. 

This lovely poem was taken, by the Editor of the 
Books of Samuel, from the lost Booh of Jashar. It 
is undoubtedly genuine. It breathes the spirit of 
the highlander grieving for brave comrades slain 
on their own mountains by the despised and hated 
Philistine of the lowlands. 

We shall first offer a translation and then it will 
be necessary to give a few brief notes. 

K. 2 



18 DAVID'S ELEGY [ch. 

(2 Sam. i. 19 ff.) 

19 Thou roebuck of Israel ! | pierced on thine own mountain- 

heights ! 

HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN ! 

Strophe I. 

20 Tell it not in Gath ; 

Announce it not in streets of Askelon ; 
Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice ; 
Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph ! 

Strophe II. 

21 Ye hills of Gilboa be dewless ! 
Ye fields of oblations be rainless ! 

For there was the shield of heroes polluted ; 
The shield of Saul, without the anointing. 

Strophe III. 

22 From the blood of the slain — 
From the fat of the mighty — 

The bow of Jonathan turned not back — 
The sword of Saul returned not empty. 

Strophe IV. 

23 Saul and Jonathan ! — 

So dear so delightful in life ; — 

And in death undivided ! 
They were swifter than eagles, | stronger than lions. 

Strophe V. 

24 Ye daughters of Israel — 
Weep over Saul 

Who clad you in scarlet | with luxur£, 
Who decked your apparel | with jewelry. 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 19 

23 HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN 

In the midst of the battle ! 
Ah, Jonathan ! | pierced on thine 6wn mountain-heights ! 

Strophe VI. 

26 Woe is me for thee, my brother ! 
Jonathan to me so dear ! 
Thy love to me more marvellous 

Than woman's love. 

HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN ! 

the war-weapons perished ! 

The word tz'vi («. 19) must often be translated 
"pride" "glory" "beauty" or "delight" but it also 
signifies the "roebuck" probably so named for its 
"beauty" It is applied to Asahel (2 Sam. ii. 18) 
who was "light of foot as the roebuck" In early 
warfare, as we know from Homer, this was no small 
praise. In our poem it is evident from v. 25 b that the 
epithet applies to Jonathan, not to Saul. Jonathan 
is, indeed, " the pride" the " didce decus " of Israel ; 
but such a translation would hide from the English 
reader the picture of the roebuck "pierced on its 
own mountain heights." 

The form, ha tzvl, does not mark the def. article, 
as E.V. " The beauty &c.," but the vocative ; like 
ha bath Jerushalaim "0 daughter of Jerusalem" 
(Lam. ii. 23). 

It is evident that Jonathan is chiefly in David's 
thoughts. It is Jonathan that is styled the "roebuck 

2—2 



20 DAVID'S ELEGY [ch. 

of Israel/' the beautiful stag pierced and dying in its 
own mountain haunts. To this thought he returns 
in v. 25 b . In v. 22 Jonathan is placed before Saul 
and, in the last strophe, v. 26, Jonathan stands 
alone. 

If we omit the refrain, which is thrice repeated 
(vv. 19, 25, 26), the poem falls naturally into six 
strophes of four lines each. The two central strophes 
(III and IV) contain the central thought, the praise 
of the dead, their valour and their virtues — " Jonathan 
and Saul" {v. 22), "Saul and Jonathan" (v. 23). The 
strophes on either side of this central thought corre- 
spond with one another, strophe V with strophe I 
and strophe VI with strophe II. Thus strophe I 
pictures the "daughters of the Philistines" in their 
joy, strophe V, the "daughters of Israel" in their 
sorrow. 

Strophes II and VI contain, I think, the most 
beautiful thoughts of the Elegy ; strophe II referring 
to Saul, strophe VI to Jonathan. Of Said {v. 21) he 
thinks as of the Lord's Anointed and feels that, 
where such a one has fallen, the very hills should lose 
the anointing rain of their fertility. But of Jonathan 
{v. 26) he thinks with the deepest devotion of friend- 
ship. In the former case it was a "shield cast away" 
(v. 21), but now it seems, in his grief, as though all 
"weapons of war had perished" (v. 26). "The 
religious element (says Kautzsch, Lit. of the O.T.) is 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 21 

quite absent from the Song. But what a monument 
has David here raised to the king from whom he 
suffered so much, to the heroic youth at his side, and 
not less, to himself." 

Briggs (Study of Holy Scripture, p. 381) com- 
ments on the fact that this "the earliest Hebrew 
dirge " is not w r ritten in the Kinah or dirge measure 
of which we shall speak in a later chapter. But, in 
this, I think he is wrong. It is quite true that it is 
not composed in the finished and artistic form of the 
later ginah ; but in the short sob-like lines of two 
beats which break the longer lines it seems to me 
that we have the Kinah measure in its earliest form. 
See especially vv. 23 c , 26 d . 

The Blessing of Jacob. 

We must now consider that collection of ancient 
poetry which goes by the name of the Blessing of 
Jacob (Gen. xlix. 2 ff.), and, for this purpose, it will 
suffice to select the two leading Tribes of Ephraim 
(Joseph) and Judah. It is impossible to give the 
actual date of these tribe-poems which w r ere in- 
corporated by the Jehovist, c. 850 B.C. Probably 
they are at least as old as the time of Solomon. 

The Blessings cannot be understood without some 
brief reference to the position of the 12 Tribes in 
relation to the 12 heavenly Signs or to their position 



22 THE BLESSING OF JACOB [oh. 

in the "Camp" (Num. ii.). Here we read that the 
Camp of Judah with its standard (the Lion?) was 
to pitch "on the east side, toward the sunrising" 
(Num. ii. 3), and the Camp of Ephraim, with its 
standard (the Ox ?) was to pitch on the west side 
(Num. ii. 18). Properly Reuben, as the first-born, 
ought to have occupied the higher place as is ex- 
plained in 1 Chron. v. 1 f. : "Now the sons of Reuben 
the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn) ; but 
forasmuch as he defiled his fathers bed, the birth- 
right was given to the sons of Joseph the son of 
Israel : and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after 
the birthright. For Judah prevailed over his brethren, 
so that the Ruler should be from him ; while the 
birthright should belong to Joseph/' 

These words are very important as giving the 
oldest comment on the Blessing of Jacob. 

The position of Joseph on the west (Num. ii.) 
brings him into connexion with the seventh month 
(Autumnal Equinox). In Gen. xxx. 23, the Elohist 
derives the name Joseph from the root asaph, "to 
gather in." This word asaph is constantly used of 
the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, Asaph 
being the oldest name for the Feast of Ingathering 
(Ex. xxiii. 16, xxxiv. 22), which was held in the 
seventh month. Further we note that the Elohist 
(Gen. xxx. 20, 23 b ) regards Joseph as the seventh son, 
so that if the 12 Tribes were written in the order of 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 23 

the 12 Months Joseph would come in the 7th Month 
with the great Ingathering (Asaph) of the fruits of 
the earth. 

These brief remarks are necessary in order that 
we may understand the Blessing which follows. 
Though Joseph is mentioned as receiving the Blessing 
it is evident that Ephraim is in the writers mind 
(cf. Gen. xlviii. 20). I think it probable that the 
original poem began, 

& fruitful bough is Ephraim, 
the name Ephraim being derived in Gen. xli. 52 from 
the Hebrew word signifying fruitful ness. 

We now give the words of the Blessing so far as 
they relate to this idea of fruitfulness, reserving the 
other portion of the Blessing for later consideration. 

(Gen. xlix. 22 ff.) 

22 A fruitful bough is Joseph, 

A fruitful bough by a spring ; 
With offshoots o'erniounting the wall 



25 c Blessings of heaven above, 

Blessings of the deep that croucheth under, 
Blessings of breasts and womb, 



Blessings of the everlasting mountains, 

The desire of the eternal hills, 

May they be upon Joseph's head, 

On the head of him crowned among brothers. 



24 JOSEPH [CH. 

We must compare this with the Joseph-blessing 
in the Song of Moses (Deut. xxxiii.), a Poem which 
was probably written in the Northern Kingdom in 
the reign of Jeroboam II (a 780 B.C.). Thus : 

(Deut. xxxiii. 13 If.) 

Blessed by Jahve (be) his land 

From prime of heaven's dew, 

From the deep that croucheth under, 

From the prime of the outcome of suns, 

From the prime of the outbreak of moons, 

From the chiefest of ancient mountains, 

From the prime of eternal hills, 

From the prime of earth with her fulness. 



Let them come upon Joseph's head, 

On the head of him crowned among brothers. 

The word which we have translated "prime" 
signifies the " choicest fruit" : thus we see that the 
Divine thought for Joseph was exactly that which 
was expressed in the Asaph or Feast of Ingathering, 
viz. the summing up of all fruitfulness for the use of 
man and for the honour of God. 

We now return to the words which we omitted when 
we considered the Blessing on Joseph in Gen. xlix. 

23 And they bitterly vexed him and shot, 
And the archers pursued him with hate : 

24 But his bow abode in strength 

And his arms and hands were made strong 

By the hands of the Mighty of Jacob. 

[From thence is the Shepherd the stone of Israel.] 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 25 

In the first five lines we have a picture of " Joseph " 
suffering persecution but strengthened by the hand 
of God. This is the germ of that thought which, in 
later times, found expression among the Jews as 
Messiah ben Joseph, the suffering Messiah. 

The fifth line, "From thence is the Shepherd" &c, 
has, I believe, never been explained. I suggest the 
following : The root asaph is used not only of the 
"gathering in" of fruits but also of the "gathering 
in" i.e. the "folding" of sheep (Gen. xxix. 7, 8) and is 
applied to God as the Shepherd gathering in His 
people like a flock (Mic. ii. 12, iv. 6). 

The Second Isaiah pictures God as the Shepherd 
of the stars, folding them all like sheep, and draws 
the lesson that, much more will God be the Shepherd 
of Israel. Thus : 

(Is. xl. 26 ff.) 

Lift up your eyes on high, 

And see who created (all) these ; 

That marshals their host by number, 

And nameth them all by their names ; 

Through abundance of might 

And power of strength 

Not one of them faileth. 

We have a similar poetical image in Browning's 

Saul : 

"...the tune all our sheep know, as one after one, 
So docile they come to the pen-door till folding be done. 

And now one after one seeks its lodging, as star follows star 
Into eve and the blue far above us, — so blue and so far ! " 



26 SHEPHERD OF ISRAEL [oh. 

There was undoubtedly a relation between the 
gems which represented Israel (Ex. xxviii. 17 ff., 
xxix. 8ff.) and the "stones of fire" (Ezek. xxviii. 13f.), 
i.e. the stars in the sky. As in Ezek. xxviii. the 
"Cherub" that "walked up and down 'midst the stones 
of fire " represented the Patron of Tyre, so in Gen. 
xlix. the heavenly Patron of Israel is none other 
than God Himself, who shepherds the stones of 
Israel. 

The thought of God as the Shepherd of Israel was 
one peculiarly dear to the Prophets of the Captivity, 
e.g. Jer. xxxi. 10: "He who (now) scattereth Israel 
will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd doth 
his flock" (cf. Ezek. xxxi v.). 

We have traced a connexion between Joseph and 
Asaph with the double thought of the Ingathering 
of the fruits of the earth and the Ingathering by the 
Good Shepherd. We have also found a hint of Joseph 
as a Sufferer strengthened by God. The present 
writer has shewn that a connexion exists between 
the Asaph Psalms, the Asaph Feast, the House of 
Joseph and the "Shepherd of Israel" (Psalms in 
Three Collections, Part II. Introd. v. ff. Cf. Part III. 
Introd. viii., x.). 

One of these Asaph Psalms is of special interest 
from a poetical point of view, not only for its beauty 
of thought but also for the regularity of its rhythm 
and its clear division into strophes indicated by the 
thrice repeated refrain. At the risk of a slight 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 27 

digression it may be well to consider it in this 
place. 

The Hebrew text has been carefully analysed by 
Mr Cobb in his Systems of Hebrew Metre, p. 30 f. 
In the translation which follows, I have, for the most 
part, accepted his emended text. 

(Ps. lxxx.) 

Strophe I. 

2 Thou Shepherd of Israel, hearken ! 
That leadest Joseph like sheep; 
Shine forth Thou cherub-throned ! 

3 [Tore Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh 1 ] 
Rouse Thy mighty strength 

And come our great-salvation. 

4 God of Hosts, rest6re us! 

Let shine Thy Face, that we be saved ! 

Strophe II. 

5 G6d of Hosts, how long ? 

Shouldst Thou fume 'gainst the prayer of Thy People ? 

6 Thou hast fed them with bread of tears ; 
With tears in full measure for drink. 

7 Thou makest us strife to our neighbours ; 
And our enemies laugh us to scorn. 

8 God of Hosts, restore us ! 

Let shine Thy Face, that we be saved ! 

Strophe III. 

9 A vine Thou didst move out of Egypt ; 
Driving out nations and planting it. 

1 ? Gloss. 



28 SHEPHERD OF ISRAEL [ch. 

10 Thou madest room; | it struck its roots; | and filled the 

Land. 

1 1 The mountains were clad with its shade ; 
And its branches were God-like cedars. 

12 It put forth its boughs to the Sea; 
And its tendrils reached to the River. 

Strophe IV. 

13 Why didst Thou break its hedges, 

So that all that pass by may pluck it? 

14 The boar from the wood lays it waste 
And field-creatures pasture upon it. 

15 God of Hosts, return now ! 
Look from heaven and see. 

16 Take thought for this vine, 

And the stem that Thy right-hand hath planted, 

17 It is burned with fire as mere fuel ! 

Strophe V. 

At the rebuke of Thy Face let them perish. 

18 Be Thy hand on Thy right-hand man; 

On the Man 1 thou madest strong for Thyself. 

19 For we will not go back from Thee : 
Give us life, and we call on Thy Name. 

20 God of H6sts, restore us ! 

Let shine Thy Face, that we be saved ! 

It will be seen that the Psalm falls into five 
strophes, three of which are closed by the refrain. 
Very possibly the refrain originally closed all five 
strophes. 

1 M Sou of Man." 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 29 

The best commentary on this Psalm is the 
Blessing on Joseph (Gen. xlix.). 

The contents of the Psalm might be summed up 
briefly as follows : 

Strophe I. An Appeal to God as the Shepherd of Joseph 

(cf. Blessing, Gen. xlix. 24 d ). 
Strophe II. Joseph cruellv persecuted (cf. Blessing, Gen. xlix. 
23). 
( Strophe III. Joseph as the Vine of fruitfulness (cf. Blessing, 

Gen. xlix. 22, 25, 26). 
v Strophe IV. Why, then, has God forsaken His Vine ? 
Strophe V. Surely Joseph implies a "Son of Man" whose 
arms were made strong by God I (cf. Blessing, 
Gen. xlix. 24). 

It will be seen that strophe IV answers to 
strophe III, strophe V to strophe II, while strophe I 
is a general summary of the whole Psalm. 

It will, I think, be evident that we are justified 
in regarding the Joseph-Blessing as Messianic. The 
Camp of Joseph ("Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh," 
Ps. lxxx. 2, Xum. ii. 18 ff.) on the west with its 
emblem of the Ox, and the Divine Name Elohim, 
with the thoughts of the Ingathering (Asaph), the 
Asaph Psalms and the Shepherd of Israel, form a part 
of that conception which, at a much later time, took 
shape in the Jewish expectation of a " Messiah ben 
Joseph," who was to be a Sufferer. 

We now turn to the Blessing on Judah (Gen. 
xlix. 9 ff.). If the order of the Tribes in the Blessing 



30 JUDAH [ch. 

of Jacob be compared with the order in the four 
Camps (Num. ii.), it will be seen that they practically 
agree, except for the fact that the Cam}) of Judah 
(i.e. Judah, Issachar, Zebulun) has changed places 
with the Camp of Reuben. The order in the Poem 
is the more ancient, in other words the Camp of 
Judah originally belonged to the South, Judah coming 
with Leo at the Summer Solstice. This will explain 
the fact that the emblem of Judah was the Lion. 

This point of the Cycle is also associated with the 
Divine Name Yah, the name Judah ( Yehudah) lending 
itself to the Hebrew word which signifies "praised" 
and also to the Divine Name. 

The reader is asked to note the play upon the 
name Judah, the reference to the Lion, and, possibly, 
to the geographical position of the Tribe, in the 
Blessing which follows : 

(Gen. xlix. 8ff.) 

8 Judah art thou | that thy brethren praise ; 
Thou lay est thine hand | on the neck of thy foes ; 
To thee shall bow down | the s6ns of thy father. 

Another fragment in different metre refers to the 
position of Judah in the Camps and possibly in the 
geography of the Land. 

9 A Lion's whelp is Judah ; 

From the prey, my son, thou art gone. 

He coucheth reposed as a lion, 

As an old-lion, who shall arouse him? 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 31 

10 The sceptre departs not from Jiidah, 
Nor the staff of sway from before him, 
Until the coming of Shiloh 

And the drawing of Peoples to him. 

In this last line I follow the reading of the 
Samaritan text (see also Chaldee) which suggests the 
"flowing together" of the Peoples, like water. This 
idea is found in Is. ii. 2 (Mia iv. 1) ; Jer. Ii. 44 ; Is. lx. 5. 
See also my note on Ps. xxxiv. 5 (6). 

The words which follow have no apparent con- 
nexion with v. 10, though personally I believe the 
reference to be to the mystical "Vine of Eridu," 
rather than to the suitability of Judea for the growth 
of the vine. (See my notes on Pss. lxxx. 8 ff., lxxii. 
16.) If this be so, v. 11 is also Messianic, containing, 
as it does, a reference to "The Vine of David 1 ." 

11 Binding his colt to the Vine, 
The foal of his ass to the Sorek; 
He steeps his garment in wine, 
His clothing in blood of the grape. 

12 A darkness of eyes through wine, 
A whiteness of teeth through milk. 

In v. 11 the "colt" and "the foal of the ass" 
suggest Zech. ix. 9, where the Messiah is pictured 
"riding upon an ass and on a colt the foal of an 
ass," while the latter part of the verse suggests the 
Conqueror from Edom (Is. lxiii. 1 — 3) with garments 

1 On the " Vine of David," see also p. 129. 



32 SONG OF MOSES [ch. 

stained as with the blood of the grape. Thus we 
have one continuous Messianic thought in w. 10, 
11. 

We cannot compare the Judah-blessing in Gen. 
xlix. with the later blessing in Deut. xxxiii., as we 
did in the case of the Joseph-blessing, because, in the 
opinion of some scholars, the words (Deut. xxxiii. 7) 
"Hear, Jahve, the voice of Judah, and bring him 
in unto his people,'' should read "Hear, Jahve, the 
voice of Simeon" with a play on the name Simeon 
which signifies "God hath heard" (Gen. xxix. 33). 

Song of Moses (Ex. xv. 1 ff.). 

The rhythm of this Song is very perfect. It 
consists of four beats in each line, divided in the 
middle by the caesura. The first line of v. 14 has, 
it is true, only three beats ; but this, I think, is 
intentional and gives the effect of a rest in music. 
A good reader would pause on the word "tremble" 

The line which constitutes the 5th verse has, in 
the Hebrew, exactly the ring of a pentameter ; this 
I have endeavoured to reproduce in my translation. 

As to strophes there is no clear indication, but 
the natural divisions seem to me to be after vv. 8, 12, 
18. This gives three strophes of 12, 11, and 13 lines 
each. The refrain would probably be repeated at 
the end of each strophe (cp. Ex. xv. 21). 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 33 

(Ex. xv. Iff.) 

Refrain. 

1 To JAH IT IS I SING | FOR He HATH PROUDLY TRIUMPHED: 

The Horse as well as rider | He hath thrown into 

THE SEA. 

Strophe I, recounting the victory of Jahve. 

2 My strength my song is Jah | and He is my salvation : 
Such is my God, I praise ; | my father's God, I ext61. 

3 Jahve is a man of war, | Jahve is His Xame. 

■i Pharaoh's chariots and host | He hath cast into the sea : 
The choicest of his captains | are sunk in the Red Sea. 

5 The deeps hare covered them sinking | down to the depths 

like a stone. 

6 Thy right hand, Jahve, | is glorious in power; 
Thy right hand, Jahve, | breaketh the enemy. 

7 In Thy excellent greatness | Thou destroyest Thy foes. 
Thou sendest Thy wrath | that consumeth as stubble. 

8 With the blast of Thy nostrils | the waters were piled ; 
Upright as a heap stood the floods ; | the deeps in the sea's 

heart grew turbid. 

Strophe II. The boast of the enemy contrasted with the 
triumph of Jahve. Compare the Song of Deborah. 

9 The enemy said, | I pursue, I o'ertake ; 

I portion the spoil, | I sate myself on them ; 

I draw but my sword, | my hand dispossessed them ! 

10 Thou didst blow with Thy wind | the sea overcovered them 
They sank as lead | in the mighty waters. 

11 Who like Thee | among the gods, Jahve? 
Who like Thee | glorious in holiness ? 
Celebrate in praise-songs | working wonders? 

K. 3 



34 SOXG OF MOSES [ch. 

12 Thou didst stretch Thy right hand | earth swallowed them 

up: 

13 Thou didst shepherd with Thy mercy, | this People Thou 

redeemest : 
Thou didst lead them on with power | unto Thy holy 
Dwelling. 

Strophe III. The effect of this victory upon the Nations as 
a stage in the establishment of God's kingdom upon earth. 

14 The Peoples have heard and tremble — 

Terror hath laid hold | on Philistia's inhabitants : 

15 Now are confounded | (all) the dukes of Edom : 

The mighty men of Moab | trembling hath seized them : 
Melted are all | the habitants of Canaan : 

16 Fallen upon them | is terror great and dread. 

By the greatness of Thine arm | they are still as a stone. 

To the end that there pass | Thy People, Jahve; 

To the end that there pass | this People Thou purchased, 

17 That Thou bringest and plantest | in the Mount of Thine 

heritage, 
The Place for Thee to dwell | that Thou didst make, Jahve, 
The Sanctuary, Lord, | that Thine hands established. 

18 Jahve shall be King | for ever and ever. 

The deliverance at the Red Sea would, undoubt- 
edly, have been celebrated in song, and the words 
which we have here as the refrain may have been 
the actual words used by Moses and Miriam. But 
the Song, in its present form, belongs to a later age, 
when the Sanctuary was established in Zion (see v. 17). 
The leading thought in the Song is the Kingship of 
God upon earth, established by a Theophany. This 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 35 

will be seen more clearly if we read it in connexion 
with such passages as the following with which it is 
closely related. 

An unknown Prophet (Is. xi. 15 f.) pictures the 
return of Israel from Assyria as a drying up of the 
Euphrates and a second passage of the Red Sea ; and 
then, with the Song of Moses in his mind, he goes on 
to say (xii. 1 ff.) In that day thou shalt say, 

I thank Thee, Jahve : | tho 5 Thou wast angry with me, 
Thine ire is turned j and Thou dost comfort me. 
Lo, God of my salvation ! | I trust and will not fear : 
For My Strength my Song is Jdh \ and He is my Salvdtion. 

In that day ye shall say : 

Thank ye Jdhve \ Celebrate His Name ; 

Declare among the Peoples His deeds ; 

Recount that His Xame is exalted. 

Hymn ye Jahve | for proudly hath He done: 

Let this be newsed | in all the earth. 

Cry aloud and sing | thou inhabitress of Zion ; 

For Israel's Holy-One | is great within thee. 

In these last words the Theophany is pictured as 
a Divine Indwelling. This thought is developed in 
Ps. cxiv. which is one of the Songs of the Hallel, and 
belongs to the general cycle of Passover Hymns. 
This Psalm, of course, belongs to a later date, but it 
will be well to consider it now as illustrating the 
Song of Moses. 

3—2 



36 A THEOPHANY [ch. 

(Ps. cxiv.) 

Strophe I. 

When Israel came out of Egypt, 
Jacob from barbarous people, 
Then Judah became His sanctuary, 
Israel His seat of dominion. 

Strophe II. 

The Sea beheld and fled ; 
Jordan was turned away back ; 
The mountains skipped like rams ; 
The hills like the young of the flock. 

Strophe III. 

What ailed thee, Sea, that thou fleddest? 
Thou Jordan that thou shouldst turn back? 
Ye mountains, why skipped ye like rams ? 
Ye hills like the young of the flock ? 

Strophe IV. 

Travail thou Earth at the Master's Presence, 
At the Presence of Jacob's God ! 
Who turned the Rock into water-p6ols, 
The flint into springing-waters. 

In the four strophes of this Psalm the connexion 
of thought is plain. Strophe I states the fact of the 
Indwelling of God in His Chosen People in times 
past. Strophes II and III picture the effect of this 
Indwelling upon Nature ; the Red Sea, the mountains, 
and the Jordan recognising their God. Strophe IV 



ii] POETRY OF THE EARLY KINGDOM 37 

returns to the thought of strophe I. The Divine 
Indwelling is still a fact which Earth must yet 
recognise in the birth-pangs of a new creation. 

One further illustration may be taken from the 
Theophany in Ps. xviii. 8 ff. 

8 Then earth itself quivered and quaked, 
The mountains' foundations were troubled, 
Yea, they quivered because He was wroth. 

9 There went up a smoke from His nostrils, 
And a fire consumed from His mouth, 
Yea flames were kindled therefrom. 

10 So He bowed the Heavens and came, 
With the Darkness under His feet. 

11 He rode on the Cherub and flew, 
Came swooping on wings of the wind ; 

12 He made of the darkness His covert, 
His pavilion all round Him — 

Darkness of waters — | dense clouds of the skies. 

13 Through His splendour opposing | His dense clouds rem6ved, 
Hail with flames of fire ! 

14 And Jahve thundered in heaven, 
The Most High gave forth His voice. 

15 He sent forth His arrows and scattered them, 

He shot with His lightnings and "troubled 1 " them. 

16 Then the bed of the waters was seen, 
The foundations of earth were laid bare, 
At thy chiding Jahve — 

At the blast of the " breath of Thy nostrils 2 ." 

17 He sent from on high, He took me, 
Drew me from many waters, 

1 Ex. xiv. 24. 2 Ex. xv. 8. 



38 A THEOPHANY [ch. n 

18 Freed me from enemies mighty, 
From foes that were stronger than I. 

19 In that day of my weakness they met me, 
But Jahve became my stay : 

20 He brought me forth into liberty, 
He freed me because He 16ves me. 

The rhythm in this fine passage is regular except 
in vv. 12, 13, where there is reason to think that the 
present text is not altogether correct. The Psalm is, 
of course, a national Psalm and recounts the de- 
liverance of Israel at the Red Sea by that free choice 
of God which indicates a fuller deliverance in the 
future (v. 20). 



CHAPTER III 

THE KINAH 

The origin of the Kinah is the lament for the 
dead. We have already seen that, even in the oldest 
Lament that has come down to us from the times 
of David, the intensity of grief found a natural 
expression in the occurrence of short sob-like lines. 

Thus : 

Thy love to Die more marvellous 
Than woman's love ! 

In later times professional mourners were engaged 
at funerals and the Kinah became a distinct measure 
or rhythm. Thus we read (2 Chron. xxxv. 25): "And 
Jeremiah lamented for Josiah and all the singing men 
and singing women spake of Josiah in their Kinahs 
(i.e. lamentations) unto this day." 

But since nations die as well as individuals the 
Prophets often use the Kinah to lament their death. 
Even in the earlier Prophets like Amos (c. 750 B.C.), 
we find perfect specimens of the Kinah, e.g. Amos 

v. 2: 

She is fallen, to rise no more, 

The Virgin of Israel ! 
Spread out upon her land, 

None to upraise her ! 



40 JEREMIAH AND EZEKIEL [ch. 

Compare also Amos viii. 10. The Kiiiali is fre- 
quent in the writings of Jeremiah and in those of 
Ezekiel. 

Thus Jeremiah (ix. 10 ff.) says : 

On the mountains I take up a wailing ; 

On the wilderness pastures a Kinah. 

They are burned that none can pass through them ! 

Nor can sound of cattle be heard ! 

From bird of heaven to beast 

They are fled and gone ! 
And I make of Jerusalem heaps, 

A dwelling of dragons ! 
And the cities of Judah I make desolation 

That none can inhabit ! 

And again, in vv. 17 ff. : 

Consider ye, and call for the Kinah-women that they may 

come... 
Let them take up a wailing for us, 
That our eyes may run over with weeping, 
Our eyelids gush water. 



Teach ye your daughters the dirge ; 
Each one her neighbour the Kinah. 
For Death is come up to our windows, 
Entered within our palaces ! 
Cutting off child from the street, 

Youths from the market ! 

Jeremiah (xxxviii. 22) pictures the women of the 
royal house of Judah taunting Zedekiah when fallen 



in] THE KtXAH 41 

into the hands of his quondam allies, the Chaldeans, 
and saying : 

They deceived and outmastered thee quite, 

These men of thy peace! 
Thy feet are sunk in the mire, 

They are turned away back ! 

I believe that Budde (Hast. Diet. Poetry Hebrew) 
is right in maintaining that the Kinah was, par 
excellence, the verse of the women. It was used by 
them chiefly as mourners for the dead, but also, as 
we have seen, in taunt-songs. The Prophets naturally 
express themselves in the language of their day and 
frequently use this popular metre, not only as the 
genuine expression of sorrow, but also, as the taunt- 
song directed against the nations of the world whose 
downfall they foresee. Ezekiel constantly mentions 
the Kinah (ii. 10; xix. 1, 14; xxvi. 17; xxvii. 2, 32; 
xxviii. 12; xxxii. 2, 16), and uses the metre in his 
lament over the deportation of the two princes. 

In translating this we must retain the Hebrew 
word Jc'phir, which the E.V. generally translates 
"young lion" since the Hebrew has many words for 
"lion," the English only one. Kpliir denotes a lion 
that has attained to maturity. 

(Ezek. xix. 2ff.) 

"What of thy mother the lioness ? 

Among tfphirim she nourished her whelps. 



42 EZEKIEL [ch. 

And she brought up one of her whelps; 

A Kphir he became. 
And he learned to tear prey, | he ate men. 
So the nations heard rumour about him ; 

In their pit he was taken : 
To the Land of Egypt they brought him in chains. 
When she saw she had waited, | her hope disappointed, 
She chose out one of her whelps 

She made him k'pkir: 
So he walked about among lions ; — 

A Kphir he became. 
And he learned to tear prey, | he ate men. 
And he knew... [text doubtful] 

And their cities he wasted 
Till the Land with its fulness lay desolate 

At the sound of his roaring. 
So the Nations set on him | from provinces round ; 
And they spread out their net around him: 

In their pit he was taken : 
So they put him in cage in chains, 
And brought him to Babylon's king, 

And brought him to strongholds 
That his voice should never be heard again 

On the mountains of Israel. 

This passage has all the appearance of having 
been written in the regular Kinah measure. I have 
endeavoured to reproduce the irregularities so that 
the English reader may judge for himself how far the 
text may have suffered. 

Ezekiel uses the Kinah in his " Laments " over 
Tyre (xxvi. 17 ff. ; xxvii. ; xxviii. 12 ff.) and over 



in] THE fclXAH 43 

Pharaoh (xxxii. 2ff.). In all these cases we might 
have expected mashal, "parable" or "taunt-song" 
rather than Kinah. Ezekiel seems to have been 
specially fond of the mashaL See his parable of the 
Great Eagle (xvii. 1 — 10) ; of the seething pot (xxiv. 
3 — 5) and also of the mother and daughter (xvi. 44 f.). 
This style of teaching must have been popular with 
some (Ezek. xxxiii. 30 — 32), while others said, with 
contempt, "Is he not a speaker of mashcds?" (xx. 49; 
in the Hebrew, xxi. 5). 

The style of Ezekiel is somewhat diffuse, but I am 
not sure that his real gift as a poet has been appre- 
ciated. He was a young man when the mighty 
Empire of Assyria fell (606 B.C.) never to rise again. 
The battle of Carchemish in the following year 
shattered the power of Egypt ; and Ezekiel held 
up before Pharaoh the warning of Assyria's fall in 
a fine poem written in a somewhat irregular Kinah 
measure as follows : 

(Ezek. xxxi. 3ff.) 

3 Behold Asshur | a cedar in Lebanon | beauteous in branches, 

shadowy with leafage | and lofty in height ; 
And amid the thick boughs | his top-shoot arose. 

4 Waters enlarged him | the deep made him gr6w. 

It ran with its rivers all round | the place of his planting, 
And sent forth its little canals | to all trees of the field : 

5 Therefore his stature was higher | than all trees of the field, 
And his boughs became many | his branches grew long | as 

he shot forth from many waters. 



44 ASSYRIA AND BABYLON [ch. 

6 In his boughs there did nest | all birds of the heaven ; 
And under his branches there gendered | all beasts of the 

field; 
And there dwelt in his shadow | the whole of the nations. 

7 So he grew r fair in greatness, | in length of his branches | be- 

cause that his root reached | to waters so many. 

8 There eclipsed him no cedars | in Garden of God. 

The fir-trees were not like his boughs, | nor were chesnut 

trees like to his branches. 
No tree in the Garden of God | could compare unto him in 

its beauty. 

The latter part of this poem which depicts the 
fall of Assyria to Hades is singularly like the Kinah 
poem on the fall of Babylon which we must consider 
at greater length. 

A fine example of the Kinah is this taunt-song 
(Is. xiv. 4ff.) written by an unknown poet, c. 549 B.C., 
not long before the fall of Babylon. 

The text of this poem is well-nigh perfect. The 
only change I have suggested is to transpose verses 
18, 19. 

The natural divisions of the poem occur after 
verses 6, 8, 11, 15, 17. There is a progress and 
development of thought w T hich might justify us in 
speaking of these divisions as strophes. Thus : 

Strophe I, vv. 4 — 6. The fall of Babylon ascribed 

to Jahve. 
Strophe II, vv. 7, 8. The world of nature rejoices. 
Strophe III, vv. 9 — 11. Grim joy in Hades. 



in] THE KINAH 45 

Strophe IV, vv. 12 — 15. The Nations take up the 

taunt-song. 
Strophe V, vv. 16, 17. Hades takes up the taunt. 
Strophe VI, vv. 19 — 20. The Nations conclude 

with the moral. 

Thus strophe VI answers to strophe IV, strophe V 
to strophe III, while strophes I and II form a general 
introduction. The portion of the poem referring to 
Hades is worthy of Dante. We see the King of 
Terrors rousing up the shades from their shadowy 
thrones to greet the latest failure of earth's ambitions. 
We note also the "narrow" look with which the newly 
awakened shades regard him, as though unable to 
trust their eyesight (v. 16). 

(Is. xiv. 4ff.) 

4 Thou shalt take up this proverb (i.e. taunt-song) against the 

King of Babylon and thou shalt say : 

Strophe I. 

Ah ! the Task-master now is at rest ! 
The Gold-city (?) resteth I 

5 Jahve hath broken the staff of the wicked ; 

The sceptre of rulers ; 

6 That smote the Peoples in wrath ; 

With ceaseless smiting. 
That ruled the 2s'atjons in anger ; 
With unsparing pursuit. 



46 THE FALL OF BABYLON [oh. 

Strophe II. 

7 All earth is at rest and is quiet ; 

They burst into song ! 

8 The fir-trees themselves rejoice over thee ; 

The cedars of Lebanon ; 
No hewer hath come up against us, 
Since thou art laid down. 

Strophe III. 

9 Hades below is in tumult for thee ; 

To welcome thy coming ; 
For thee it arouseth the shades; 

All the he -goats of earth. 
It maketh to rise from their thrones, 

All the kings of the Nations. 

10 [They all of them dnswer and say unto thee] 
So thou too art weakened as we, 

Made like unto us ? 

1 1 Thy pride is brought down unto Hades ; 

The thrum of thy viols. 
Beneath thee corruption is strewn : 

And the worm is thy cover. 

Strophe IV. 

12 How art thou fallen from Heaven, 

Thou Star of the Dawn ! 
(How art thou) hewn to the ground, 

That didst weaken the Nations ! 

13 Thou, that didst say in thine heart, 

I will mount unto Heaven. 
Above the stars of God 

I will set up my throne ; 



in] THE KINAH 47 

And will sit in the Mount of Assembly 1 ; 
The Recess of the North. 
1 -4 I will mount on the heights of the clouds ; 
Will be like the Most High. 

15 Yet to Hades it is thou art brought 

The Recess of the Pit. 

Strophe V. 

16 They that see thee look narrowly on thee; 

Upon thee they ponder. 
Is this the man that troubled earth, 
That shook the kingdoms ? 

17 That made the world a wilderness, 

Its cities wasted ? 
That never freed prisoner homeward ! 

Strophe VI. 

19 And thou art cast forth from thy grave, 

As a shoot that's rejected ! 
Clothed with the mangled slain, that go down to the stones 
of the Pit, 

As a carcass that's trampled. 

18 One and all, the kings of the Nations, 
Lie down in honour, each in his house. 

20 Not with them art thou joined in thy burial ; 
Since thy land thou destroyedst, 

Thy people didst slay. 
Unhonoured for ever remaineth 
The seed of ill-doers. 

The dirge of the captives (Ps. cxxxvii.) is, as we 
might expect, written for the most part in the Kinah 
measure. The text is a little uncertain in v. 3 b where, 

1 i.e. of the gods. 



48 THE CAPTIVES' DIRGE [ch. 

also, the metre fails us. We are glad to feel that 
vv. 7 — 9 were not written by the author of this lovely 
Psalm which is complete in itself (vv. 1 — 6). The 
reader should notice how the word "joy" in v. 6 b 
responds to "joy" in v. 3 b . Any personal joy was 
impossible when Jerusalem was in ruins. Verse 6 a 
responds to v. 3 a . The voice of song would, if at- 
tempted, mean that "the tongue would cleave to 
the palate." Verse 5 responds to v. 2. Should the 
harp be taken down the right hand itself would 
refuse its office. 

Thus the parallelism of thought completes itself 
in two strophes. 

(Ps. cxxxvii.) 

1 By Babylon's waters we sat, and we wept, 

As we thought upon Zion. 

2 There on the willows within her 

We hanged our harps. 

3 For there our captors demanded 

The language of song ! 
Our wasters (?)... (asked) joy! 
"Sing us one of Zion's Songs." 

4 How should we sing the Song of Jahve 

On Land of strangers ? 

5 Could I forget thee Jerusalem 

My right hand should forget! 

6 My tongue should cleave to my palate 

If unmindful of thee ! 
If I set not Jerusalem higher 

Than best of my joy. 



in] THE KlNAH 49 

Before leaving the Kinah we will give an illus- 
tration of the way in which it is occasionally modified. 
The reader will note the grief expressed by the short 
lines. 

(Is. i. 21 ff.) 

How is she turned to a harlot ! 

The faithful City ! 
Full (she was) of justice, | righteousness dwelt in her — 

But now— assassins ! 
Thy silver is come to be dross ; | Thy wine is murdered with 

water ; 
Thy nobles are rebels ; | Companions of thieves : 
Each one of them loveth the bribe, | And pursueth the gift. 
The orphan they judge not; | the cause of the widow | comes 

not unto them ! 

These examples may suffice, especially as we shall 
have occasion to consider at some length the Kinah 
measure in the Book of Lamentations in our chapter 
which treats of Alphabetical Poetry. 

It may be well, however, to give one example 
of the way in which the study of Hebrew metre may 
eventually help us to determine the original text. 
For this purpose I take Ps. xlii., xliii., which is in the 
Kinah measure with a refrain in the measure 3 + 3. 
This Psalm has been carefully analysed by Prof. 
Rothstein (Grunchiige des hebrciischen Rhythmus), 
and I shall to some extent follow his analysis, 
though my conclusions differ from his. 

K, 4 



50 METRE AND TEXT [ch. 

The first line (v. 2) is in different measure (viz. 
2 + 2 + 2 + 2). The question therefore arises : Is it 
intended as a heading for the Psalm? I have re- 
tained the word "bleateth" because the Hebrew word 
is onomatopoetic, denoting the voice of the thirsty 
stag. We have no word in English for this. But 
the English reader has a right to know that the Poet 
applies this strong word to the cry of his soul. 

As bleateth the stag | for the channels of waters, | so bleateth 
my soul | for Thee, God. 

It is obvious that, in this line of four parts, the 
third answers exactly to the first, and the fourth 
to the second. I therefore suggest that, if it be the 
heading of the whole Psalm, it should imply four 
strophes answering to one another in this order. 

Our next step must be to omit w. 5, 9 and w. 1, 2 a 
of Ps. xliii. which read as prose ; also xliii. 2 b which 
is a repetition of xlii. 10 b . 

With these omissions the Psalm falls into four 
equal strophes which answer to one another in the 
order suggested by the heading. Thus : 

(Ps. xlii. — xliii.) 

2 As bleateth the stag | for the channels of waters, | so 

bleateth my soul | for Thee, God | 

Strophe I ("As bleateth the stag"). Scheme 3+2: Refrain 3 + 3. 

3 My s6ul is athirst for Jahve — 

For the G6d of my life ! 



in] THE KlNAH 51 

When shall I c6me and behold 

The Presence of Jahve ? 
4 Tears have been mine for food, 

By day and by night, 
While they say to me all day long, 

Where is thy God? 

Refrain. 

6 Why so depressed, my soul? 

And why shouldst thou moan within me ? 
Wait for Jahve till I thank Him, 
As the help of my face, and my God. 

Strophe II ("For the channels of waters"). 

7 Within me my soul is cast down, 

Since I celebrate Thee 
From a Land of Jordan and Hermons — 
A mountain of Mitzor ! 

8 W T here deep is crying to deep, 

For the sound of Thy torrents ! 
The whole of Thy breakers and billows 
Have g6ne over me. 
(Repeat Refrain.) 
Strophe III ("So bleateth my soul"). 

10 I would say to the God of my Rock, 

Why shouldst Thou forget me ? 
Why should I mournfully walk 

Through oppression of foes ? 

11 'Tis as murder within my bones 

When mine enemies revile me ; 
When they say to me 411 day long 
Where is thy God ? 

12 (Repeat Refrain.) 

4—2 



52 THIRST FOR GOD [ch. 

Strophe IV ("For Thee, God"). 
(Pa. xliii.) 

3 Send forth Thy Light and Thy Truth ; 

Let them lead me on : 
To Thy holy Mount let them bring me — 
Unto Thy Tabernacles. 

4 Till I come to the Altar of Jahve — 

To the God of my joy ; 
And I gleefully thank Thee with harp, 
Jahve my God! 

5 . (Repeat Refrain.) 

The Psalm cannot be understood without reference 
to Joel i. 20 and Job vi. 15 — 20, for it is not the 
thirst of the stag but the disappointed thirst when 
it finds the channel dry. So, also it is not the thirst 
of the soul but the disappointed thirst when the 
channels of grace yield no joy (strophes II and III). 
But the refrain insists upon the truth that these 
channels of grace will again flow with joy, and the 
fourth strophe sees the realization of this hope. 

The passage in Joel to which we refer may be 
translated as follows : 

(Joeli. 19 f.) 

Jahve to Thee I cry — 

For fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness ; 

And flame hath enkindled all the trees of the field. 

The beasts of the field are each bleating unto Thee. 

For dried are the channels of water ; 

And fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness. 



in] THE KIXAH 53 

Though the regular form of the Kinah is 3 + 2 we 
have already seen that it admits of modifications. 
One further instance may be given from the beautiful 
elegy on Moab (Is. xvi. 9ff.) which Isaiah seems to 
have quoted from an ancient source (see v. 13). 

To understand this elegy the reader must remember 
that the word hedad which properly signifies the 
joyous "vintage-shout" may also signify the "battle- 
shout" so that Jeremiah (xlviii. 33) speaks of a "hedad 
that is no hedad." In our elegy the word is used in 
both senses. 

The metre is 2 4-2 + 2 with two lines of 
2 + 2 + 2 + 2. 

Therefore I weep | with the weeping of Jazer | for Sibmah's 

vine. 
I bedew thee with tears | Heshbon El'aleh | for on harvest and 

fruitage | the hedad is fallen 1 
Gone is all gladness | and joy from the tillage | the vineyards 

are songless, | not ringing with shout. 
The wino in the presses | no treader now treads ; | the hedad 

is silenced ! 
So my bowels for Moab | are sounding as harps, | and my 

soul for Kir-heres. 

There is a play upon the name "Kir-heres" as 
in Is. xix. 18 ; the "City of the Sun" is become the 
"City of destruction" The whole passage also 
contains instances of alliteration of which Isaiah was 
peculiarly fond and which it is impossible to reproduce 
in a translation. 



CHAPTER IV 

ACROSTIC, OR ALPHABETICAL, POETRY 

The poems in the Bible which are directly 
alphabetical are the following : Pss. ix. and x. (im- 
perfect), xxv., xxxiv., xxxvii., cxi., cxii., cxix., cxlv. ; 
Prov. xxxi. 10 — 31 ; Lam. i., ii., iii., iv. At first sight 
the arrangement of lines or verses under the order 
of successive letters of the alphabet might seem 
beneath the dignity of the Sacred Writings. Nor 
is it sufficient to regard such arrangement as an aid 
to memory. I hope to shew that it had a deeper 
significance, and that it indicates a division in strophes 
which has not yet been recognised. 

The Book of Lamentations consists of five chapters. 
These chapters are of different date and of different 
structure. The first chapter is generally recognised 
to be the oldest ; each verse consists of three lines, 
the first line of each verse commencing with the 
corresponding letter of the alphabet. The metre is 
elegiac, i.e. Kinali measure, the poem being a lament 
over the death of Israel as a Nation. 



ch. iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 55 

We give a translation of the first two verses as 
a specimen : 

(Lam. i. If.) 

X H6w doth she sit all alone | 

the (once) populous City ! 
H6w hath she come to be widowed | 

once great among nations ! 
She that was queen among kingdoms | 

now come under tribute ! 
^ She bitterly weeps in the night | 

'with her tears on her cheek ! 
She hath not a one to bring comfort | 

out of all of her lovers ! 
Her friends are turned traitors towards her | 

they have come to be enemies ! 

The second chapter is similar to the first except 
for the fact that the order of two of the letters 
(S and y) is transposed. The third chapter is sup- 
posed to be the latest. It has three lines to each 
letter of the alphabet ; a verse has been assigned 
to each letter, thus giving 66 verses though, properly, 
there should have been only 22. Here again ice 
note that the letter S (vv. 46 — 48) comes be/ore the 
letter ]} (vv. 49 — 51), and this is the case also in the 
fourth chapter. We begin to suspect that this repre- 
sents the original order of the Hebrew alphabet ; we 
therefore turn back to chapter I and we find that 
vv. 16 and 17 which represent y and 5 respectively 
would give better sense if transposed. We are thus 



56 LAMENTATIONS III [ch. 

confirmed in our belief that, at the time when these 
chapters of Lamentations were composed, the order 
of the letters was £, y, not y, fi as at present. We 
shall see the importance of this when we come to the 
earlier group of Alphabetical Psalms. Chapters IV 
and V have two lines to a verse but chapter V differs 
in that it is not alphabetical, and the lines are 
shorter. 

Thus the Book of Lamentations consists of five 
Elegies, the oldest of which may date almost from 
the age of Jeremiah. These elegies were appointed 
for use on the 9th of Ab when the Jewish Church 
bewailed the destruction of the first Temple. I sug- 
gest that they were composed, at different dates, for 
use on that Fast-day. 

We will now translate Lam. iii. retaining as far as 
possible the rhythm of the Hebrew. 

(Lam. iii.) 

1 X I am the man that hath looked on affliction — 

by the rod of His wrath. 

2 J$ He led me and made me to walk 

in darkness, not light. 

3 X Against me He constantly turneth His hand — 

all the day. 

4 J He hath worn out my flesh and my skin — 

broken my bones. 

5 ^ He hath builded and compassed me round — 

with gall and with travail. 



7 


a 


8 


i 


9 


a 


10 


i 


11 


i 


12 


i 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 57 

6 ^ He bath made me to dwell in dark places — 
as the age-long dead. 

He hath hedged me around, that I cannot go forth 1 — 
He hath weighted my chain. 

Yea, though I cry out and shout — 

He shuts out my prayer. 

He hath hedged my ways (as with) hewn-stone — 
He hath twisted my paths. 

He is to me as a bear in wait — 

as a lion 2 in coverts. 
My ways He hath turned, He hath pulled me in pieces — 

hath rendered me desolate. 
He bent His bow, and He set me 

as the mark for the arrow 3 . 

13 H He hath caused to enter my reins 

the shafts of His quiver. 

I became a derision to all the Peoples — 
their song all the day. 

He hath filled me with bitterness, made me 
drunken with wormwood. 

And He brake my teeth with gravel- 
fed (?) me with ashes. 

Thou hast cast out my soul from peace — 
I forgat (all) prosperity. 

And I said, my glory hath perished — 

and my hope all from Jahve. 

19 J I remember my affliction and my sorrow — 
wormwood and gall. 

1 Cf. Job xix. 8, xxx. 20. 2 Job x. 16. 

3 Cf. Job vii. 20, xvi. 12 f. 



14 


n 


15 


n 


16 


i 


17 


i 


18 


i 



58 LAMENTATIONS III [ch. 

20 J My s6ul hath them still in remembrance— 

is humbled within me ! 

21 J This 6ne thing I lay to my heart — 

therefore I hope. 

Israel trusts in the Covenant of Creation (Jer. 
xxxi. 35—37 ; Is. lxvi. 22). 

22 H Jahve's mercies are not ended 1 — 

His compassions fail not. 

23 H They are new as the mornings come round — 

Great is Thy faithfulness. 

24 n My portion is Jahve, saith my soul — 

I therefore await Him. 

25 to Good to His patient ones is Jahve — 

to the soul that doth seek Him. 

26 to Good, one should hope and be still — 

for salvation of Jahve. 

27 to Good, for man that he should bear — 

the yoke in his youth. 

28 * Let him sit alone and be silent — 

since He laid it upon him. 

29 1 Let him put his mouth in the dust — 

if perchance there be hope. 

30 * Let him gi\e his cheek to the smiter 2 — 

be filled with reproach. 

31 3 For He will not cast off for ever — 

the Lord (will be gracious). 

32 ^ For though He cause grief He will pity — 

as His mercy abounds. 

1 See Versions. 2 Is. 1. 6. 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 59 

For 'tis not from His heart He afflicteth 

or grieveth mankind. 
That he (the enemy) should crush under f6ot 

all the bound ones of earth — 
That he should pervert human justice 

in the face of the Highest — 
That he wrong a man in his covenant — 

The Lord cannot see ! 

Who is there that spake and it was — 

if the Lord did not order? 

Should there not come from the mouth of the Highest- 
Evil and good ? 

What is man that liveth, to murmur ? — 
a man for his sins ? 

Let us search and try our ways — 

and return unto Jahve. 

Let us lift our hearts, palms uplifted, — 
to God in the Heavens. 

It is we that transgressed and rebelled 

and Thou hast not pardoned ! 

Thou hast hedged Thee with anger and followed us hard — 
Thou hast slain without pity. 

Thou hast hedged Thee around with thick cloud — 
that prayer cannot pass. 

Thou hast made us as dross and as refuse — 
in the midst of the Peoples. 

They gape on us open mouthed — 

even all our enemies. 

Fear and snare are ours — 

desolation, destruction. 



33 


3 


34 


s 


35 


b 


36 


b 


37 


a 


38 


D 


39 


D 


40 


3 


41 


J 


42 


: 


43 


D 


44 


D 


45 


D 


46 


fi 


47 


& 



LAMENTATIONS III [ch. 

Mine eye runs fountains of waters — 

for the hurt of my People. 

Mine eye runs d6wn and ceaseth not — 
with no intermission. 

Till He look forth and behold- 
Even Jahve from Heaven. 

Mine eye affecteth my soul — 

for the daughters of my City. 

They hunted me sore like a bird — 

my causeless enemies. 

They cut off my life in the dungeon — 

and placed a stone on me. 

Waters flowed over mine head — 

I said, I am ended. 

I called Thy Name, Jahve— 

from the depths of the dungeon. 
My voice Thou hast heard, Oh close not Thine ear — 

from my breathing, my cry. 
Thou wast near in the day that I called Thee — 

Thou saidest, Fear not. 

Lord, Thou hast pleaded the cause of my soul — 
hast ransomed my life. 

Thou, Jahve, hast witnessed my wronging — 
give me now justice ! 

Thou hast seen all their vengeance — 

their devisings against me. 

61 ty Thou hast heard their reproach, Jahve — 
their device all against me. 

6*2 ty The talk and the thought of mine adversaries — 
against me all day. 



60 




48 


£ 


49 


V 


50 


V 


51 


V 


52 


s 


53 


X 


54 


X 


55 


p 


56 


p 


57 


p 


58 


-1 


59 


-1 


60 


-1 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 61 

63 jy Behold ! when they sit, when they rise — 

I am their song. 

64 Jl Render them their recompense, Jahve — 

like the work of their hands. 

65 p Give to them blindness of heart — 

Thy curse upon them. 

66 p Pursue them in wrath and destroy them — 

from beneath Jahve's heavens. 

At first sight this poem seems to consist of 
alternations of sorrow and hope without order or 
arrangement : but if we look closer we find that the 
natural breaks occur after the letters 1, 7> ¥> H. This 
gives three long strophes of 6 letters each closed 
by a short strophe of 4 letters. In other words, the 
arrangement of the strojrfics corresponds with the 
law of the Kinah measure (3 + 2), in which the poem 
is written. This, of course, may be accidental. We 
shall test it further. Meanwhile it is suggestive. 
The subjects of the four strophes may be given as 
follows : 

Strophe I (6 letters X to )). Complaint against 

God. 

Strophe II (6 letters T to 7). Resignation and 

hope. 

Strophe III (6 letters 12 to V). Complaint against 

God modified by 
resignation. 



62 LETTERS AND STRUCTURE [OH. 

Strophe IV (4 letters ft to D). God has heard, 

and ivill repay 
the enemy. 

If we name these strophes A, B, C, D, respectively, 
then, if the poem be studied, it will be seen that 
C answers to A and D to B. Besides this larger 
division into strophes the reader w r ill notice that the 
letter fc has become the middle letter of the alphabet 
He should therefore compare the three X lines with 
the three 22 lines and so throughout the alphabet. 
This will throw great light on the poem. Note 
especially the relation between X and fi (vv. 1 — 3 
with 37—39). 

y and D (vv. 7—9 with 43—45). 

T and 5 (vv. 10—12 with 46—48). 

) and ¥ (vv. 16—18 with 52—54). 

The six letters T to 7 (vv. 19 — 36) have to cor- 
respond with the four letters ft to ft (vv. 55 — 66). 
It should be noted especially how vv. 34 — 36 are 
answered by the curse in vv. 64 — 66. 

We will now test our conclusions by seeing how 
far they apply to the Alphabetical Psalms. For this 
purpose w r e choose Ps. xxxvii. as being one of the 
most perfect specimens of the Alphabetical Psalms of 
the First Collection. 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 63 

(Ps. xxxvii. Scheme 3 + 3.) 
Strophe I. 

1 X Fret not thyself at ill-doers, | Grudge not at w6rkers of 

wrong. 

2 For as grass they are speedily mown, | And like the 

green herbage they wither. 

3 ^ Trust in Jahve and do good ; | Dwell in the Land, feed 

on His Faith. 

4 And delight thee in Jahve, | that He may grant thee | 

the desire of thy heart. 

5 J Devolve upon Jahve thy way ; | Trust Him, and He will 

do it. 

6 He will bring out thy right as the light, | And thy 

cause as the noonday. 

7 T Be still for Jahve ; wait for Him ! — 

Fret not at him that prospers, | At the man that effects 
his designs. 

8 H Cease from anger; leave wrath; | Fret not; 'tis merely 

for harm. 

9 For ill-doers shall be cut off, ( While the waiters on 

Jahve are they | that inherit the Land. 

10 f"*| Yet but a little and the wicked is not ! | Thou may'st 
ponder his place, but he is not! 
While the humble inherit the Land | And delight in 
abundance of peace. 

Strophe II. 

12 J The wicked laid plans for the righteous, | And gnashed 

at him with his teeth. 

13 The Lord will laugh at him, | For He sees that his day is 

coming. 



64 LETTERS AND STRUCTURE [ch. 

14 pi The wicked have drawn their sword, | Have bent their 

bow — 
To cast down the poor and needy, | To slaughter those 
upright of way. 

15 Their sword shall pierce thine own heart | And their 

b6ws shall be broken. 

16 J2 A righteous man's little is better, | Than abundance of 

many wicked. 

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, | While 

Jahve upholdeth the righteous. 

18 > Jahve noteth the days of the upright, | So their heritage 

lasts for ever. 

19 They are not shamed in evil times, | And in days of 

dearth they are filled. 

20 J B u t wicked-ones perish — 

And Jahve's enemies, | like the beauty of the meadows, | 
Are past in smoke and gone. 

21 [7 The wicked borroweth and payeth not; | While the 
righteous is gracious and giving. 

For His blessed inherit the Land; | His cursed ones 
are cut off. 

Strophe III. 

23 fo ; Tis from Jahve the steps of a man are established, | 

When his way gives Him pleasure. 

24 Though he fall he will not be cast off, | For Jahve up- 

holdeth his hand. 

25 ^ Young I was and now am old | Yet never saw the 

righteous left | [Or his seed begging bread...] ? gloss. 

26 He is ever gracious and lendeth; | And his seed is for 

blessing. 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 65 

27 D Turn from evil and do the good, | And dwell thou for 

ever. 

28 For Jahve loveth justice, | And will never desert His 

saints. 

30 fi The mouth of the righteous meditates wisdom, | And 

his tongue will be talking of judgement. 

31 In his heart is the Law of his God, | So his steps do not 

falter. 

28 b W Sinners are destroyed [? text]... | The seed of the wicked 
is cut off. 
The righteous inherit the Land, | And dwell therein 
for ever. 

The structure of the poem requires that £ should 
come before p just as it does in Lamentations. I have 
therefore transposed these lines. 

Strophe IV. 

32 ¥ The wicked sets watch for the righteous, | And seeketh 

to slay him — 

33 Jahve will not leave him in his hand, | Nor condemn 

him when judged — 

34 p Wait thou for Jahve and keep His Way, | To inherit the 

Land will He raise thee. 
Thou shalt joy in the wicked's extinction. 

35^1 have seen the wicked tyrannically strong, I Outspreading 
as Lebanon cedars. 

36 I passed — and 16, he was g6ne ; | I sought him — he 

could not be found ! 

37 ty N6te the perfect (man\ regard the upright, | For the 

man of peace has a future : 
K. 5 



66 LETTERS AND STRUCTURE [ch. 

38 While transgressors are wholly destroyed ; | The future of 

the wicked is extinct. 

39 J1 The salvation of the righteous is from Jahve, | Their 

stronghold in time of distress. 

40 For 5 tis Jahve that helps and delivers them ; | Delivers 

from sinners and saves them, | Because they confided 
in Him. 

The structure of this Alphabetical Psalm is in 
short lines of 3 beats, but it is better to arrange it in 
longer lines of 6 beats with caesura, for the most part, 
in the middle. The reason for this will be seen in 
w. 4, 7 a , 20, 34 b , 40, where the arrangement is varied. 

The letters of the alphabet are divided into four 
groups, with the letter & as the middle letter, exactly 
as in Lam. iii., so that the Psalm falls into four corre- 
sponding strophes. But whereas in Lam. iii., where 
the Kinah measure was 3 + 2, we had three long 
strophes and one short one, here, where the measure 
is 3 + 3 the strophes are of equal length of 5 letters 
each. But, since there are 22 letters in the Hebrew 
alphabet, and the letter & must always be the central 
letter, the author of our Psalm had two superfluous 
letters in the first half, i.e. the letters ) and 7 at the 
end of strophes I and II. He might have omitted 
these letters altogether, as did the original author 
of Pss. xxv. and xxxiv. (see my notes), in which case 
they would probably have been supplied by a later 
editor ; or he might himself have written these 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 67 

verses (10 and 21) with the intention of adding no 
new thought 

In my opinion the concluding lines of vv. 9, 20, 
which remind us of alexandrines, formed the original 
close of strophes I and II respectively ; I have 
therefore placed vv. 10, 21 in square brackets. The 
reader should now carefully compare the four 
strophes, not regarding the verses (which have no 
ancient authority), but the Hebrew letters. He will 
see that the closest relationship is between the five 
letters of strophe I and those of strophe III, and 
also between the five letters of strophe II and those 
of strophe IV. Thus the relationship of the strophes 
is identical with that of Lam. iii. 

The main subject of the Psalm is the religious 
difficulty caused by the prosperity of the wicked. 
The subject of strophe I (see esp. vv. 5, 6) is the 
command to cast the burden of this difficulty upon 
God. Strophe III answers, letter by letter, to 
strophe I but adds the thought of active work (cf. 
esp. vv. 27, 28 with vv. 5, 6). 

Strophe II, in its central thought {v. 16), asserts 
that in spite of the poverty and low estate of the 
righteous, their condition is better than that of their 
triumphant enemies. Strophe IV takes up this 
thought of strophe II, letter by letter, and comes to 
the conclusion, which, as we shall see, did not satisfy 
Job, that a sudden destruction which will overtake 

5—2 



68 PSALMS CXI, CXII [oh. 

the wicked (vv. 35, 36) will justify the ways of God 
with men. 

Before leaving the subject of Alphabetical poetry, 
we must take one example from the Psalms of the 
Third Collection, which we naturally expect to be of 
later date than the poems we have already considered. 
We select the pair of Psalms cxi. and cxii. which, 
indeed, form one Psalm in two strophes. 

(Ps. cxi.) 

Scheme 3 + 3. Subject, The Good God. 

^ Jahve I praise with whole heart, | Jj In communion of 

saints and assembly. 
3 Great are the works of Jahve ; | *| Exquisite to all that 

choose them. 
fi Splendour and majesty is His work ; | *| His righteousness 

abideth for ever. 
J A Name hath He made by His wonders ; | ft " Gracious 

and Merciful" is Jahve. 
[3 He giveth food to his fearers; | * He remembereth His 

Covenant for ever. . 

3 His power He shewed for His People ; | 7 Giving them the 

heritage of Gentiles. 

J53 The works of His hands are verity ; | J All of his precepts 

are sure. 
J3 They are stayed for ever and ever; | y Being wrought in 

trtith and right. 
5 Redemption He sent to His People; | ¥ He enjoined His 

Covenant for ever. 

P Holy and feared is His Name. 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 69 

^ The beginning of wisdom is [Jahve's] fear ; | £JJ Discretion is 
theirs that practise it. 

J") His praise abideth for ever. 

(Ps. cxii.) 

Scheme 3 + 3. Subject, The Good Man. 

X happy the fearer of Jahve, | 3 That greatly delights in 

His Laws. 
J Mighty on earth is his seed; | T The generation of saints 

shall be blessed. 
J1 Riches and wealth in his house ; | *) His righteousness 

abideth for ever. 
] His light is risen in darkness ; | H " Gracious and merciful n 

is the righteous. 
J3 He is good gracious and giving ; | * He maintaineth his 

promises rightly. . 

3 He remaineth unmoved for ever; | 7 He shall be for an 

endless Name. 

fo At evil tidings he feareth not; | ^ Fixed is his heart upon 

Jahve. 
Q Stayed is his heart, unfearing ; | y Till he see his desire on 

his foes. 
g He scattered, he gave to the needy; | >{ His righteousness 

abideth for ever. 

H His horn is exalted with honour. 

■^ The wicked sees and is grieved ; | £J? He gnasheth his teeth 
and pineth. 
fi The desire of wicked (men) perishes. 

Each of these Psalms is complete in itself. Each 
is divided into two Parts or strophes at the letter fi, 



70 STRUCTURE OF [ch. 

as in the case of other alphabetical arrangements. 
Thus, if we analyse Ps. cxi. we see that in Part I 
the central thought is the Covenant Name of God 
as "Gracious and Merciful" in letters T, n. If we 
refer to the corresponding line in Part II we see 
that it reads, under letter p, "Holy and feared is 
His Name." Indeed the six lines (12 letters) of 
Part I correspond with the six lines (10 letters) of 
Part II. The same is true of Ps. cxii. which speaks 
of the good man. The central thought of Part I is 
given by the letters T, n viz. that, out of his darkness, 
a light springs up for him because he is gracious 
and merciful. The corresponding line in Part II is 
given by the letter p "His horn is exalted with 
honour." The connexion in Hebrew between the horn 
and rising light may be seen from Ps. cxxxii. 17 f. ; 
Ex. xxxiv. 29 f., 35 ; Hab. iii. 4. 

If, in each of these Psalms, the reader will carefully 
compare Part I with Part II, line by line, he will see 
that these Parts are really strophes ; so that they 
ought to be sung antiphonally. But though each 
Psalm is complete in itself the full meaning is only 
brought out when we read the two Psalms together, 
line by line. The good man (Ps. cxii.) is a reflex of 
the Good God (Ps. cxi.), so much so that the same 
words may be applied to each (see letters \ PI, *). 
The liberality of God (Ps. cxi. letters fl, X) is shewn 
in that gift of Redemption which makes His Covenant 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 71 

eternal. The liberality of the good man (Ps. cxii., 
letters S, X) is shewn in gifts of mercy which make 
his righteousness eternal (cf. 2 Cor. ix. 9 ff.). Thus, 
while each Psalm has two strophes, the two Psalms 
are strophical the one to the other, and should always 
be sung together. 

We may now sum up the results at which we 
have arrived in our study of the alphabetical poems. 
In every case the alphabet has been divided at the 
letter fi, thus giving a grouping of ten letters, ten 
being the sacred number of the Priest Code and of 
the Covenant. The allusions to the Covenant in 
these poems is very frequent. They all belong to 
the "Wisdom" literature and are didactic in their 
tone. In the earlier alphabetical poems (Lam. and 
Pss. of First Collection) the letter £ came before J?. 
In the later poems (Pss. of Third Collection) the order 
of the alphabet was as at present. 

Since the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters it is 
evident that the letter £, which is the 13th letter 
cannot be the "middle letter," and yet we find that it 
was so reckoned by Talmudic writers who thus make 
the first (N), middle (0), and last letter (J!) of the 
alphabet (which in Hebrew spell the word "truth") 
to stand for "the Seal of God" (Jems. Tal. Sank. I. 
Quoted by Buxtorf, s.v. nDX). This I believe has 
never been explained. I suggest that the solution 
is to be found in the arrangement of the Alphabetical 



72 THE GOOD WIFE [ch. 

(Covenant) Psalms which we have already con- 
sidered 

The latest of the alphabetical poems in the Bible 
is the poem on the "good wife" (Prov. xxxi. 10 — 31) 
which probably belongs to the Greek period. It 
consists of 22 lines, each commencing with the cor- 
responding letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, but it is 
not divided at the letter ft. It is not easy to see 
any law on which it is constructed, except that the 
two last lines sum up the moral, in the nature of 
a Chorus, thus making the poem itself consist of 
20 lines, or two tens, closing with the lines p, T 
which certainly seem to correspond with the opening 
lines of the poem. 

(Prov. xxxi. 10—31.) 

^ AYho can attain a brave wife ? | Priceless she is beyond 

rubies. 
2 Her husband's heart may trust her | and lack no manner 

of gain. 
J She requites him only with good, | all the days of her life. 
*7 She seeks out w6ol and flax | and works with willing hands. 
Jl She is like the ships of the trader, | she bringeth her food 

from afar. 
^ She rises while yet it is night | and supplieth the needs 

of her home 1 , 
f She considers a field and buys it : | with the fruit of her 

hands it is planted 2 . 

1 A probable gloss adds " and a law for her maidens." 

2 The text has "she plantetha vineyard." This destroys the metre. 



iv] ALPHABETICAL POETRY 73 

n She girdeth her loins with might, | and maketh strong her 

arms. 
tO She perceiveth her traffic succeed ; | her lamp is unquenched 

by night. 
* She layeth her hands to the spindle | and her palms hold 

the distaff. 
3 She openeth her palms to the poor | and stretcheth out 
. hands to the needy. 

7 Xo fear of the snow for her household | for her household 

is double-clad. 
fa She maketh her tapestry - coverings ; | her clothing fine- 
linen and purple. 
3 Her husband is known in the gates ; | where he sitteth 

with the elders of the land. 
5 She worketh garments and selleth ; | and girdles she gives 

to the merchant, 
y So strong so fine her clothing | she laughs at coming time. 
3 She openeth her mouth with wisdom, | with kindly lore on 

her tongue. 
>f She looks well to the ways of her house | and eats no 

bread of idleness, 
p Her sons rise up and bless her, | and her husband praises 

her (saying) 
*1 " Many daughters are brave | but thou hast excelled them 

all.*' 

Chorus speaks. 

ty Grace and beauty are fleeting and vain, | a God-fearing 

wife is the 6ne to be praised. 
f\ Give her the fruit of her hands, | while her deeds tell her 

praise in the gates. 



CHAPTER V 

THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 

The religion of the Jew was an historical religion. 
It was wrought out, little by little (Heb. i. 1), in the 
experiences of the Nation. And certainly there never 
has been a Nation upon earth that might more fitly 
be termed "the Suffering Nation." But it is equally 
true to say that there never has been a Nation that 
has had throughout its history the same consciousness 
of a Divine call, of a Divine sonship. The problem 
that Israel had — I do not say to solve, but — to set 
forth before the world, was how to reconcile the 
truth of Israel's sonship with the fact of Israel's 
sufferings. 

From the time when Amos (a 760 B.c.) uttered 
his noble paradox (Amos iii. 2), down to the time 
of Christ, the poets and prophets of Israel have 
striven in divers ways to face the problem, Why 
should the righteous suffer ? In the present Chapter 
we shall consider some of the attempts that have been 
made to solve this problem. 

But it is impossible to do this until the English 
reader shall come to realise that modern individuality 



ch. v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 75 

must not be read into the Psalter, where the speaker 
is Israel and where "I" and "we" may constantly 
interchange as in Num. xx. 19 f. "And the children 
of Israel said unto him (Eclom), We will go up by the 
high way : and if we drink of thy water, I and my 
cattle, then will I give the price thereof : let me only, 
without (doing) anything (else), pass through on my 
feet. And he said, Thou shalt not pass through. And 
Edom came out against him...." This characteristic 
of Hebrew thought has, under God's Providence, 
served a great end, and it is most unfortunate that 
it should be so constantly disregarded, even by 
theologians. 

We must now briefly review, as far as possible 
in historical order, the various answers which have 
been given to the question, Why should the righteous 
Nation suffer ? 

Deuteronomy (622 B.c.) appears to promise to 
Israel every kind of temporal prosperity. "In the 
event of obedience, Israel will be 'set on high' above 
all nations (xxvi. 19, xxviii. 1), and enjoy material 
superiority over them" (xv. 6 b , xxviii. 12 b , 13). 
[Driver, Deuteronomy, p. 33.] 

The School of Deuteronomy expresses itself in 
such language as that of the Alphabetical Psalms, 
e.g. Ps. xxxvii. 25 : 

I have been young and now am old, 
Yet never saw the righteous left, 
Or his seed begging bread. 



76 JEREMIAH'S EXPERIENCE [en. 

This teaching of course involves an eternal truth, 
but it might easily become misleading, and was soon 
found to need supplementing. 

The death of good king Josiah in the battle of 
Megiddo (609 B.C.) and the times that followed gave 
true men cause to think. Then it was (c. 600 B.C.) 
that Habakkuk pleaded his difficulty with God (Hab. 
i. 13) : "Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold 
evil, and that canst not look upon wrong, how is it 
Thou canst look upon the treacherous-ones and hold- 
est Thy peace when the wicked-one (i.e. the Chaldean) 
swalloweth up the man that is more righteous than 
he (i.e. Israel)?'' Habakkuk found no answer to his 
difficulty except to trust and wait (Hab. ii. 1 — 4). 

The life-task of Jeremiah (626 — 586 B.C.), the man 
of sorrows, was to prove from his own experience, 
that suffering was a way of service, and did not imply 
the anger of God. His own deep consciousness of sin 
and infirmity never hid from him the certainty that 
God had called him (i. off.) to be His "Servant." He 
shrank from the hard task of this service, e.g. viii. 23 ff. 
(E.V. ix. 1 ff). 

Oh that my head were witters, 

And mine eye a fountain of tears, 

That by day and by night I might weep, 

For the slain of the Daughter of my People ! 

Oh that I had in the Wilderness 

A wayfarer's lodge ! 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 77 

That I might forsake my People, 

And get me gone from them. 
For they are adulterers all, 

An assembly of traitors ! 

(xi. 19.) 

Woe is me for my hurt ! grievous my wound ! 

And I said, This is sickness, indeed; I must bear it. 

(xii. 1.) 

Righteous art Thou Jahve, 

Yet would I plead with Thee ; 

And would talk with Thee of judgements : 

Why prospers the way of the wicked ? 

Why are traitors all of them happy ? 

There were times when Jeremiah rebelled against 
his task (xv. 10, 17f. ; xx. 7ff.). But the thought 
that he was God's Servant helped him through, till 
God's word became not a "fire" (xx. 9) but the "joy 
and rejoicing of his heart" (xv. 16). Like Dante 
(Purg. xxvii.) he passed through the fire and found 
Paradise beyond. 

This personal experience Jeremiah transferred to 
the People that he loved. 

As God had called him from all eternity (i. 5 ff.) 
in spite of unworthiness, so God has called Israel — 
(xxxi. 2, see context). 

With eternal love have I loved thee 

And therefore with mercy have drawn thee. 



78 JEREMIAH'S EXPERIENCE [ch. 

The Prophet well knew the difficulty of this : 

(xiii. 23.) 

Can Ethiop change his skin, 

Or leopard his spots ? 
Then ye shall be fitted for good 

that are wonted to evil. 

Compare also xvii. 9, xxx. 12. But the very 
difficulty made him the more certain that God must 
act. Thus the Prophet who knew most of sin and 
of sorrow reached the highest point of Old Testament 
Revelation in the certainty of the New Covenant. 

(xxxi. 33.) 

I do set My Law within them, 
And on their hearts I will write it ; 
And I will be theirs as God, 
While they shall be Mine as People. 

But as, in Jeremiah's case, sufferings were the 
mode of service through which he found God, so also 
it must be in the case of the Nation : and I would 
call special attention to the fact that Jeremiah is the 
first to apply the title "Thy Servant" to Israel (see 
Driver, L.O.T. p. 246), and that he does so in these 
Chapters which speak of the New Covenant. Thus : 

(xxx. 10 f.) 
"And thou, My Servant Jacob, fear not, saith Jahve ; 
dread not, Israel, for it is I that am saving thee 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 79 

from afar.... Though I make a full end of all the 
Nations whither I have scattered thee, yet with thee 
I will not make a full end." 

So, then, while Jeremiah gives no formal answer 
to the question, Why do the People of God suffer? 
his own experience suggests a very practical answer : 
Suffering is Service — Israel is (like the Prophet) God's 
Servant 

Of a life beyond the grave the Prophets had no 
certain knowledge. The Captivity was the death of 
Israel and it was a mighty venture of faith to believe 
that the " dead bones " could once more live (Ezek. 
xxxvii. 1 — 14). 

Before considering the problem of suffering in the 
Book of Job we will give a translation of Ps. xxxix. 
which, more than any other Psalm, is full of the 
language and thought of Job. [See Psalms in Three 
Collections, pp. 155 — 160.] 

I have followed Wellhausen in omitting v. 10 which 
seems to have been a gloss on v. 3. I have also 
placed the Refrain at the end of v. 7 instead of v. 6, 
where it interrupts the sense. 

The division of the Psalm into three strophes is 
suggested by v. 13 "My prayer" "My cry" "My 
tears" in inverted order. 



80 PSALMS AND JOB [ch. 

(Ps. xxxix.) 

(My tears, v. 13.) 

2 I said, I must heed my ways, | not to sin with my tongue. 
I must keep my mouth with a bridle, | While the wicked is 

still in my presence. 

3 I was utterly dumb, | not speaking a word ; I and my grief 

grew intense. 

4 With heart hot within me, | fire kindled with thought ; | so 

I spake with my tongue. 

(My cry, v. 13.) 

5 Shew me, Jahve, mine end, | and my portion of days what 

it is: | I would know how fleeting I am. 

6 Behold as a span | Thou hast made my days ; | and my lifetime 

is nothing before Thee ! 

7 Man walks in mere show; | They are vainly in turmoil; | He 

piles and he knows not who gathers ! 

A MERE BREATH IS MAN'S LOT. 

(My prayer, v. 13.) 

8 And now, Lord, why do I wait? | —My hope is in Thee! 

9 Free me from all my transgressions ; | Make me not a reproach 

for the fool. 

11 Remove from off me Thy stroke; | 'Xeath the weight (?) of 

Thine hand I consume. 

12 With requital of sin | Thou punishest man, | Dost waste his 

delights like the moth. 

A MERE BREATH IS MAN'S LOT. 

13 Hear my prayer, Jahve ; 
Give ear to my cry; 

Be not silent to my tears; 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 81 

For I am a guest with Thee, 
Like all my fathers a sojourner. 
14 Leave me space to take comfort; \ Before I depart and I am 
not : 

We now turn to the Book of Job. The problem 
that the writer had to solve was exactly that of the 
Prophet Habakkuk — Why should Israel, righteous 
by comparison, be of all Nations the Suffering 
X at ion ? 

To solve the problem he introduces a man "perfect 
and upright" (i. 1) amongst men. In Heaven God 
bears witness to him (i. 8) and the Accuser is allowed 
to put him to the utmost test (i. 12, ii. 6). Then, 
when every conceivable trouble and affliction has 
fallen upon Job, his three friends who represent the 
" wisdom" literature of the day come to comfort him. 
This "wisdom" had, as we have seen, its origin in 
the eudaemonism of Deuteronomy, of the Alphabetical 
Psalms, of the Book of Proverbs, and other similar 
works. The writer intends to allow this "Wisdom" 
to speak for itself, and to find what it is worth by 
applying it to the sufferings of a righteous man. 
Job's three friends no doubt represent different 
phases of this "wisdom," but for our present purpose 
it will suffice to consider them as one. 

The Poem begins at chapter III. 

The friends at first insinuate, and afterwards 
openly declare, that Job's sufferings must be due to 
some great and flagrant sin. 

K. 6 



82 JOB [CH. 

Remember ; who ever hath perished being innocent ? 
Or when were righteous men cut off ! ? 

Compare also v. 2 with Ps. xxxvii. 1, 2, 7. 

Temporal prosperity must be the portion of the 
good (v. 19 — 27), otherwise where is God's justice ? 

It is true that a wicked man (like Job) may seem 
to prosper for a time, but this only means a sudden 
and terrible fate that is coming upon him and on his 
children (v. 3 ff.). Add to this the terrors of an evil 
conscience (xv. 20 ff., xviii. 5 — 21). 

All this is worked out with great power and 
doubtless it represented the orthodox teaching of the 
day. But Job will have none of it. Such arguments 
are mere words (vi. 26, xvi. 3). He had hoped for 
comfort from his friends but they have proved utterly 
false ; vi. 15 — 20. 

My brothers are deceitful as a torrent; 
Like the channel of the brooks they change : 
Which run dark because of the ice, 
And the snow that hides itself in them. 
They no sooner are warm than they vanish; 
When hot they are dried from their place. 
The paths of their way are diverted ; 
They ascend and perish in void. 
The caravans of Teman looked for them ; 
The companies of Sheba expected them — 
They were shamed because of their trust ; 
They came there and blushed for shame. 

1 Job iv. 7; cf. Ps. xxxvii. 25. 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 83 

While freely admitting the general fact of sinful- 
ness (ix. 2, xiii. 26), Job absolutely refused to admit 
the contention of his friends that his sufferings were 
the result of some grievous hidden sin. He calls God 
to witness that it is not so. 

(ix. 32 f.) 

Were He one like myself I would answer Him, 
We would come together in judgement. 
But there is betwixt us no umpire, 
That can lay his hand on us both. 

(xiii. 15.) 

Lo, He may slay me, I caunot hope ; 
Yet my ways I maintain to His Face. 
He Himself should be mine for salvation ; 
For no hypocrite comes in His Presence. 

Rather than admit what he knows to be untrue he 
would charge God with injustice. 

(xix. 6.) 
Know then that God has wronged me. 

(xxvii. 3 ff.) 

As long as my spirit is in me, 

And the breath of God in my nostrils, 

If J lips shall not speak untruth, 

And my tongue shall not utter falsehood, 

Far be it from me to pronounce you right ; 

Till I die I will never reject mine integrity. 

6—2 



84 JOB [ch. 

Job's apparent claim to sinlessness is exactly that 
of Israel in Pss. xvii. 1 — 5, xviii. 20 ff., xxvi., xliv. 17 ffi, 
lxix. 7ft', ci. In other words it is that of the " Servant" 
of God. 

As to the assertion of the "friends" that prosperity 
is the lot of the righteous, Job positively asserts the 
very opposite. Thus : 

(xxi. 7.) 

7 Why do the wicked have life? 

They grow old, wax mighty in strength. 

8 Their seed is established before them; 
And their offspring while they yet live. 

9 Their houses are safe from fear ; 
And no rod of God is on them. 



12 They take up the tabret and harp ; 
And rejoice at the sound of the lute. 



17 How 6ft is the lamp of the wicked extinguished ? 
(Is it true) that their fate comes upon them ? 
The pangs He distributes in anger ? 

To Job the world is full of sadness : the bitter 
cry of the workers (chapter XXIV) reminds us of 
the Song of the Shirt. 

12 From out of the city men gro&n, 

And the soul of the slain crieth out ; 
Yet God imputeth no wrong! 

The pathos of it all was intensified by the fact 
that to Job the grave was utterly dark. 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 85 

(xiv. 7ff.) 

7 For the tree there may be h6pe ; 
Though felled it again may sprout ; 
And its tender branch not fail. 

8 Though its root grow old in the earth, 
And its stock may die in the ground. 

9 Yet through scent of the water it buds, 
And puts forth its boughs as when young. 

10 But a hero must die and be wasted ! 

Man gives up the ghost, and where is he ? 

11 Waters will have vanished from the sea; 
The River will have wasted and be dried ; 

12 But man lies there and riseth not ; 
While heaven exists they wake not, 

Nor can they be roused from their sleep. 

See also vv. 16 — 21. 

Yet, in spite of the sufferings of the present, the 
falseness of his friends, and the darkness of the future, 
Job was sure of God ; and because of this, his words 
gain meanings far beyond his thought. 

(xvi. 19 ff.) 

In the Heaven, even now, is my Witness, 
In high-heaven my Testimony. 
With mockers for friends I 
Unto God doth mine eye drop tears, 
For a Pleader for man with God, 
A man for his fellow ! 

Thus, in spite of some hasty words, Job, like 
Jeremiah, is faithful to the end ; and poetic justice 



86 LIGHT BREAKS FOR JOB [oh. 

requires that light should break. The light comes 
through a Divine Voice (chapter XXXVIII f.) which 
appeals, not as arguments to the mind, but as light 
to the whole being. (Compare the conclusion of 
Tennyson's Two Voices,) Driver (L.O.T.) well says 
of these chapters : " The first speech of Jehovah 
transcends all other descriptions of the wonders of 
creation or the greatness of the Creator, which are 
to be found either in the Bible or elsewhere. Parts 
of 2 Isaiah (e.g. c. 40) approach it ; but they are 
conceived in a different strain, and, noble as they 
are, are less grand and impressive. The picturesque 
illustrations, the choice diction, the splendid imagery, 
the light and rapid movement of the verse, combine 
to produce a whole of incomparable brilliancy and 
force." 

Before offering a translation of portions of this 
speech I must ask the reader to remember that the 
object of the Divine Voice is not to impress Job with 
the omnipotence of God : for he well knew this, and 
nothing could go beyond the power and beauty with 
which he has already pictured the Divine omnipotence 
in chapter XXXVI ending with the words 

Lo these are but parts of His ways ; 

The mere whisper about Him that's heard: 

But the thunder of His might, who can know ? 

If the Divine Voice had taught nothing more than 
omnipotence it would have been no revelation. But 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 87 

it suggests throughout, a Divine purpose and care 
lying behind the power. And this is just what the 
sufferer needs to rebuke his faithless fears. 

(Job xxxviii. 2 ff.) 

God's Voice, out of the Storm. 

2 Who is it that darkeneth counsel 

With words without knowledge ? 

3 Gird now thy loins like a man: 

I will ask : do thou answer. 

Earth implies a purpose. 

4 Where wert thou when earth was founded ? 
Declare if thou skillest to know. 

5 Who appointed the measures she owns ? 
Or who stretched the line upon her I 

6 Her foundations, on what were they settled ? 
Or who laid her corner stone ? 

7 While the morning-stars sang in chorus 
And the sons-of-God shouted for joy ! 

Tht Sea proclaims the Creator's purpose in curbing it. 

8 When He shut up with doors the Sea 
That burst, as it were, from a womb ? 

9 When I made the cloud its vesture ; 
And darkness its swaddling-band ? 

10 When I clenched on it My decree, 
And appointed it bars and doors ? 
[and said] 

1 1 Thus far shalt thou come and no further ; 
And here shall thy proud waves be stayed ? 



88 LIGHT BREAKS FOR JOB [oh. 

The creation of light implies the victory of all good. 

12 Couldst thou ever give charge to the Morning; 
Or teach the Dawn its place ? 

13 How to grasp the corners of earth 
Till the wicked be shaken thereout? 

14 It is changed like the clay of a seal ; 

Things stand out as though clothed with a garment ! 

15 While their light is withheld from the wicked, 
And the arm that is lofty is broken. 

The Under-world, a storehouse for good ends. 

16 Hast thou entered the mazes of Sea ? 
Or walked the recesses of the Deep ? 

17 Have the gates of Death been revealed to thee? 
Canst thou see the gates of Death-shadow ? 

18 Canst thoti comprehend to earth's bounds ? 
Tell then if thou knowest her wholly. 

19 Where is the way where light dwelleth ? 
And darkness, where is its place ? 

20 That thou shouldst conduct it to bounds 
And shouldst know the paths to its dwelling! 

21 Dost thou know it as being then born ? 
Is the number of thy days so many ? 

22 Hast thou entered the storehouse of snow ? 
And the storehouse of hail, hast thou seen it ? 

23 Which for time of stress I am keeping, 
For the day of battle and war. 

24 Which is the way light is parted, 

When it scatters the stormblast on earth? 

25 Who opened the channel of cloudburst, 
And the way for the flash of the thunder ? 

26 Causing rain on land without man, 
On uninhabited wilderness ! 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 89 

27 Soaking the desolate waste 

Till it spring with g6rms of grass ! 

28 Hath the rain a father? 

Or who hath begotten the dew-drops ? 

29 The ice ? from whose womb came it forth ? 
The hoar-frost of heaven ? who gendered it ? 

30 The waters are hidden like stone 
And the face of the deep is congealed. 

The Upper-world also declares the purpose of its Maker. 

31 Canst thou fasten the bands of the Pleiades ? 
Or loosen the fetters of Orion ? 

32 Canst bring each constellation in season ? 
Canst guide Arcturus with his sons ? 

33 Dost thou know the statutes of heaven ? 
Canst thou fix each influence over earth ? 

34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, 
That abundance of water may cover thee ? 

35 The lightnings ? canst send that they go ? 
That they answer thee, Here we are ? 

36 Who gave them their inward wisdom ? 
Or imparted a mind-like intelligence? 

The poem passes on to depict God's care mani- 
fested in the instinct He has implanted in the lion, 
the raven, the hinds, and other creatures of the 
wilderness, and closes with a magnificent passage 
which we must translate: 

(xxxix. 19 ff.) 

19 Couldst thou give to the horse his strength ? 
Couldst thou clothe his neck as with thunder? 



90 THE SERVANT [ch. 

ildst thon give him the rustle of liesflfti 
That glory and terror of nostril ! 

He paweth in the vail :i in his strength. 

He rdsheth to face the weapons. 
He mbckrth at fear and is not dismayed, 

runieth be back from the sword. 
_ g iinst him the quiver may ring; 
The flame of the spear and the javelin : 
With fiuioM onset he devours the ground, 
P - he cannot be still when the trumpet sounds. 
In the thick of the trumpets he saith. Aha ! 
1 I bsU the battle from afar, 
The thdnder of captains and shout of war. 

Thus, as far as the Book of Job is concerned the 
answer to the problem of suffering is given not to the 
intellect but to the eye of faith. Job might have said 
with Browning's Bob 

■ L who saw power, see now love perfect too : 
Perfect I call Thy plan: 
Thanks that I was a man ! 
Maker, remake, complete, — I trust what Thou shalt do!° 

Xext in order of thought, and probably in order 
of time, comes the Evangelical Prophet, generally 
known as the Second Isaiah who prophesied during 
the closing years of the Captivity (c. 538 RC.i and 
completed the mission of Jeremiah. 

We have already seen (p. 78) that Jeremiah was 
the first to speak of Israel as Gods •Servant" who 
should suffer but should not be destroyed But 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 91 

Jeremiah attributes no atoning value to those 
sufferings. He pictures more fully than any other 
the " glories that shall follow," but he leaves the 
mind unsatisfied as to the justice of the suffering. 
Not so the Evangelical Prophet whose position in the 
Old Testament is unique. 

The key-note of the Evangelical Prophet is struck 
in the opening words of his Prophecy in which, 
measuring Jerusalem's guilt with the guilt of the 
Nations, he boldly declares that her sufferings have 
more than atoned for it, and that those sufferings are 
being used by God for the furtherance of His Glory 
in the world (cf. Col. i. 24). 

(Is. xl. 1.) 

Comfort ye, c6mfort ye My People, 

Saith your God. 
Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, 

And proclaim unto her 
That her service is accomplished | That her guilt is atoned, 
That she took at Jahve's hand, 

The double of her sins. 

He sees Israel as the "Servant" with a mission 
to the Gentiles ; a Servant blind to the Master's 
purpose, yet privileged to bring through his own 
sufferings, the knowledge of God to all the Nations 
of the earth. The following passages may suffice to 
make this clear. 



92 THE SERVANT [oh. 

(Is. xli. 8f.) 
And Israel, thou art My Servant ; 
The Jacob whom I have chosen; 
The seed of Abraham My friend ; 
Thou that I fetched from far lands, 
And called from the confines thereof, 
And said to thee, Thou art My Servant, 
I chose thee and have not rejected thee. 

In Abraham "all the families of the earth" are 
to be blessed. Abraham's " seed " is " elect " to carry 
out this purpose. 

(Is. xlii. 1 ff.) 

1 Lo ! My Servant whom I uphold, 
The Elect My Soul is well pleased in ; 
I have put My Spirit upon him, 

He will bring forth right to the Gentiles. 

2 He shall not cry nor clamour, 

Nor make heard his voice in the street; 

3 He d6es not break a crushed reed, 
Nor quench a glimmering wick ; 
But in truth he brings forth right. 

4 He will not be dim or crushed 

Till he stablish the right upon earth, 
And the countries await his teaching. 



I Jahve have called thee in righteousness, 
Have holden thy hand and will keep thee, 
And will make thee a covenant-people, 

a light for the Gentiles ; 
To open eyes that are blind, 
To bring forth the captive from prison, 
And from dungeon those sitting in darkness. 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 93 

In xliii. 10 the singular and plural are applied to 
Israel, "Ye are My witnesses, saith Jahve, and (ye 
are) My Servant whom I have chosen.'* 

The success of the Servant's missionary work is 
pictured as follows : 

(Is. xliv. 1 ff.) 

1 But hear now, Jacob My Servant ; 
And Israel whom I have chosen. 

2 Thus saith Jahve thy Maker, 

He that formed thee from birth and will help thee ; 
Fear not, thou Jacob My Servant, 
Jeshurun whom I have chosen; 

3 For water I pour on the thirsty, 
And streams on the dry-land; 

I will pour on thy seed My Spirit, 
And, on thy offspring, My blessing : 

4 They shall shoot up as watered grass ; 
As poplars by water-courses. 

5 This one shall say, I am Jahve's; 
Another shall celebrate Jacob ; 
Another inscribes himself Jahve's, 
And takes Israel's name as a surname. 

The missionary work of the Servant results in the 
conversion of Egypt, Ethiopia and the Sabeans (xlv. 
14) and indeed of all the Nations (xlii. 4, 10, 12). 

(Is. xlix. 1 ff.) 

1 Hearken ye lands unto me I 
Give ear ye peoples from afar I 
Jahve called me from the womb ; 
From my birth He mentioned my name: 



94 THE SERVANT [ch. 

2 And He made my mouth a sharp sword; 
In the shade of His hand He hid me, 
And He made me a polished arrow, 

In His quiver concealed me, and said, 

3 Israel thou art My servant 
Through whom I make Myself glorious. 

4 [Whereas I thought] 

I have laboured in vain in void, 
Have spent my strength for nothing; 
And yet my right was with Jahve, 
My reward was with my God. 

5 And now thus saith Jahve — 

That formed me from birth as His Servant 
To bring back Jacob to Him, 
And the Israel not yet gathered : 
And so I am honoured in Jahve's eyes, 
And my God is become my strength. 

6 And He said, 

'Tis easy, for thee to be Servant, 

To raise up the tribes of Jacob, 

And to restore the remnant of Israel, 

But I make thee a light of the Gentiles, 

To bec6me My salvation to the ends of the earth. 

These last verses involve a certain difficulty ; for 
if the Servant be the ideal Israel, how can he be said 
to bring back Israel ? To this I would reply that the 
Ten Tribes had been practically lost in the Captivity 
and that the Prophets naturally expected a reunion 
so that "all Israel should be saved." This was to be 
brought about by the Servant. But the hard portion 
of his task was to be the conversion of the Gentiles. 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 95 

This would involve him in suffering. So the passage 
continues : 

7 Thus saith Jahve :— 

Israel's Goel and Holy One — 

Of one despised and abhorred of people, 

of a servant of despots — 
Kings shall see and rise tip, 

and princes pay reverence. 

In other words the Servant who had been oppressed 
and despised by the kings of the earth will be seen 
by them at last, and confessed with wonder as the 
world's redeemer. 

The Servant had been "blind" to this good purpose 
of God. 

(Is. xlii. 19.) 
Who is so blind as My Servant? 

But when led to see, he will accept his mission as 
a Sufferer, and the sacrifice will become joy. 

(Is. 1.5 f.) 

Jahve hath opened mine ear — 

I did not rebel, nor turn away back : 

I gave my back to the smiters, | My cheeks to the peeling; 

I hid not my face from spitting and shame. 

We are now in a position to consider the famous 
passage Is. lii. 13 — liii. 

This poem is complete in itself. It may be re- 
moved from its context without disturbing the sense 



96 THE SUFFERING SERVANT [ch. 

Indeed some scholars have regarded it as a quotation. 
But this is, I think, a mistake ; for as I have tried 
to shew, the whole argument has been leading up 
to it. 

(Is. lii. 13 ff.) 

Strophe I. God is pictured as speaking. 

13 Behold My Servant shall prosper ; 

Shall be high and uplifted, exceedingly lofty. 

14 As dumbfounded at thee were the many — 
So marred more than human his visage, 
And his form more than sons of men — 

15 So (now) he astounds many nations ; 
At him kings wonder in silence : 
[lit. "shut their mouth at him"] 
For a thing untold do they see ; 

An unheard of thing do they ponder. 

Strophe II. The many Nations of the world as represented 
by their kings now speak. 

Ch. liii. 

1 Who could have believed this good-news of ours ? 
And Jahve's arm, on whom hath it been revealed ? 

2 He (i.e. Israel) came up before Him as a plant ; 
As a root from ground that is dry. 

No form or splendour was his | that we 

should regard him ! 
Nor aspect, that we should desire him ! 

3 Despised and deserted by men ! 

A man of sorrows, and wonted to sickness ! 
As one from whom (God's) Face was hidden ! 
Despised, and we counted him not ! 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 97 

Strophe III. The Nations now see that Israel, whom they 
despised, has been, all along, the scape-goat for the world. 

4 But our sickness 1 he hath borne ! 
And our sorrows 1 he hatli carried ! 
While we regarded him as leprous ; 
Stricken of God and afflicted ! 

5 While he was pierced by our sins; 
Bruised by our iniquities ! 

The chastisement of our peace was on him ; 
And his stripes were healing for us. 

6 All we had wandered like sheep ; 
Each his own way we had turned; 

And Jahve caused to meet on him the sin 

of all of us. 

Strophe IV. The Nations ponder with wonder over the 
meekness and gentleness of the Sufferer. (Verses 8ab, 
9 ab are difficult and possibly corrupt. I leave them un- 
accented) 

7 When oppressed he only humbled himself, 
And would not open his mouth. 

As a sheep that is brought to the slaughter, 
As a ewe that is dtimb to her shearers, 
So he would not 6pen his mouth. 

8 Without rdle without right was he t&ken 
And his generation who could declare ? 
For he was cut from the land of the living, 

For the sin of the peoples, the plague that was theirs. 

9 So the wicked were given for his grave (?) 
And the rich for his (many) deaths 2 

Because that no violence 3 he did, nor was fraud in his 

mouth. 
1 See v. 3. 2 Ezek. xxviii. 10. 3 Job xvi. 17. 

k. 7 



98 THE SUFFERING SERVANT [ch. 

Strophe V. Here, as in strophe I the point of view is not 
that of the Nations of the world but of God Himself who 
becomes the actual speaker in vv. 11, 12. 

10 And Jahve willed to bruise 1 him ; 

He caused the sickness 2 : 
If his soul would make itself an offering 
A seed he should behold should have long life 
And the will of Jahve by his means should prosper : 

11 Of the travail of his soul he should see and be content, 
By his (?its) knowledge should My Servant make the 

many 3 righteous ; 
And their iniquities he himself shall carry 4 . 

12 Therefore I allot him his portion with the many 6 , 
And with the mighty he divides the spoil ; 

Because that he hath emptied his soul unto the death, 
And was numbered with transgressors. 
So he himself the sin of ma'ny 5 bare 
And so atones transgressors. 

The reader will notice that the word "Many" 
occurs five times in this Poem, twice in strophe I 
and three times in strophe V. In strophe I "the 
many " were the Nations of the World whose look 
of pitying contempt shall be changed to a look of 
adoring wonder. In strophe V we learn how this 
has come about. The "Servant" has cast in his 
portion with "the many." He has borne the sin of 
"the many/' and so has made "the many" acceptable 

1 v. 5. « t>. 8f. 3 vv. 14, 15. 

4 v. 4. 5 v. 11. 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 99 

to God. Thus by the obedience of the One the Many 
are made righteous (cf. Rom. v. 15). 

There is nothing in the history of prophecy more 
remarkable than the small effect produced by these 
wonderful Chapters of the Suffering Servant. No 
doubt we may in part account for this by the fact 
that Persia the deliverer soon became Persia the 
persecutor, and the sense of Israel's mission to the 
Gentiles was lost in bitterness. But for the true 
cause we must look deeper and regard it as a 
"mystery" hidden in God to await the fulness of 
Christian times. Meanwhile the prophecy is there. 
It is 

"...music sent up to God by the lover and the bard; 
Enough that He heard it once ; we shall hear it by and by." 

The suffering of the good, and the prosperity of 
evil-doers, tended at a later time to direct the thoughts 
of men to the life beyond the grave. We will give 
one illustration of this from the Asaph Psalms which 
I would assign to c. 450 B.c. The Psalm (lxxiii.) is 
interesting not only for its subject-matter but also 
for its metre. 

(Ps. lxxiii.) 

1 Mere goodness is God unto Israel, 

To the Pure in heart ! 

2 As for me — my feet had nigh gone ; 
My steps had all but slipped. 



100 A PSALMIST'S DIFFICULTY [oh. 

3 For I envied the 16t of the proud ; 
The peace of the wicked I saw. 

4 For pangs are not for them ; 
Sound and robust is their health. 

5 No share have they in man's toil, 
Nor are they stricken like others. 

6 Therefore doth pride bedeck them ; 
Violence enrobes them as a garment. 

7 Their iniquity proudly goes forth : 
They exceed all heart can picture. 

8 They mock while they wickedly speak; 
They loftily speak their oppression. 

9 They have set their mouth against heaven ; 
And their tongue goes the circuit of earth. 

10 Therefore... [text doubtful] 

1 1 And they say, " How then can God kn6w ? 

Has Elyon perception ? " 

12 Behold the wicked are thus ! 
Ever at peace they grow strong ! 

13 Then vainly I cleanse my heart, 
And wash my hands in innocency ; 

14 While I am stricken all day, 
My chastisement morn by morn ! 

15 Truly were 1 to speak thus 

I were false to the generation of Thy children. 

16 Yet, when I bethought me to know this, 
Grievous it was in mine eyes ; 

17 Till I came to the Sanctuary of God — 

I thought on their end ! 

18 Merely J mid delusions Thou dost place them — 

Dost cast them to ruin ! 



v] THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING 101 

19 How sudden they c6me to destruction — 

Are ended with terror ! 

20 When roused Thou spurnest their Image 

Like a dream on awaking ! 

21 Indeed, when my heart was embittered, 

And my reins were perturbed, 

22 Then t — I was brutish and knew not — 

I became as the beasts ! 

23 Yet t — am ever with Thee ; 

Thou upholdest my hand ; 

24 With Thy counsel dost guide me; and after 

Wilt take me in glory. 

25 Who is mine in the heavens ? 

And, with Thee, I desire naught on earth. 

26 My flesh and my heart may consume, 
Yet the Rock of my heart and my portion 

Elohiin is for ever ! 

27 For behold ! Thy div6rced-ones must perish ; 
Thou destr6yest each whoring from Thee. 

28 But for me — the nearness of God is my good ; 
In Jahve, the Lord, do I set my refuge. 

The metre of this Psalm is irregular. It opens 
with the Kinah measure, after which we have several 
verses in triplets. Then pp. 17 — 24, a fine passage 
of Kinah, after which we have further irregularity. 
Whether this be due to corruption of the text or to 
the intention of the writer we cannot now determine. 
Our present object is to consider the Psalm merely in 
regard to the problem of the sufferings of the righteous, 
i.e. Israel. 



102 A SOLUTION [ch. v 

Verse 1 states the eternal truth; vv. 2 — 11 the 
apparent exception which creates the difficulty. In 
vv. 12 — 14 the Psalmist speaking for Israel, confesses 
the temptation to doubt the eternal truth of v. 1. 
If he were to yield to that temptation he feels that 
he would be a traitor to the cause of God (v. 15), 
and yet he, like Job, feels the difficulty most keenly 
(v. 16). The solution comes (vv. 17ff.) when he enters 
into "the Sanctuary of God." By this we must not 
understand the Temple but rather the Sanetuary- 
purpose of God's creative thought. The Psalmist, 
like Dante, must " see the children of perdition " 
(Piirg. xxx. end). The solution reached by the 
Psalmist differs from that of Job and indicates a later 
date. It is nothing less than this — The wicked have 
no reality of existence, they are but a dream of God 
(v. 20), which when He wakes He puts away 1 , whereas 
Israel, the righteous, is an Enoch who "walks with 
God" (v. 24), and being "joined unto the Lord" is 
"one Spirit" with Him (v. 28, cf. 1 Cor. vi. 17). Thus 
the Psalm returns (v. 28) to the thought with which 
it commenced; God is "good to Israel" and Israel's 
"good" is the "nearness of God." If the Psalmist 
did not reach to the Christian conception of personal 
immortality, he had at least the root of the matter in 
Israel's union with God. 

1 Compare Shakespeare, Second Part of King Henry IV > Scene V, 
lines 50 — 54. 



CHAPTER VI 

ON THE STROPHE 

It may be well, at once, to define the sense in 
which we apply the word strophe to Hebrew poetry 
since it differs somewhat from the clearly defined 
strophe and antlstrophe of the classical writers. 

The Hebrew strophe is a development of parallel- 
ism. That which parallelism is to the ear in the 
structure of the verse, that the strophe is to the mind 
in the arrangement of the whole poem. This balance 
of thought is sometimes marked by a refrain and is 
found not only in the lyric poetry of the Psalms but 
also in the rhetorical poetry of the Prophets 1 . Thus: 

(Amos vii. 1 — 9, viii. 1 — 3.) 

Strophe I. 

1 Thus hath the Lord God shewed me : 

And behold He was framing the locust at the early 

shooting of the latter-growth ; 
And behold it was the latter-growth after the king's 

mowings. 

2 So it was when it finished to eat all the grass of the land, 
Then I said, Lord God, forgive now: 

How shall Jacob stand? for he is small! 

3 (Then) Jahce repented of this: 
It shall not be, saith Jahce. 

1 bte Dr D. H. Miiller, Komposition und Strophenbau. 



104 RHETORICAL REFRAIN [ch. 

Strophe II. 

4 Thus hath the Lord God shewed me : 

And behold He was calling to contend by fire, 
And it devoured the great deep 
And was eating the land. 

5 Then I said, Lord God, cease now; 
How shall Jacob stand? for he is small! 

6 (Then) Jahre repented of this : 
This too shall not be, saith Jahve. 

Here we have two strophes of eight lines each, 
closing with the same refrain. In the same way 
vv. 7—9 form another strophe of eight lines corre- 
sponding with viii. 1 — 3, as follows: 

Strophe III. 

7 Thus He (the Lord God) shewed me ; 

And behold He stood on a plumbline wall, with a plumbline 
in hand. 

8 And Jahve said to me, What seest thou, Amos ? 
And I answered, A plumbline. 

And the Lord said, Lo I am setting a plumbline in the 

midst of My people Israel ; 
/ will not again pass by them. 

9 And Isaac's shrines shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of 

Israel waste ; 
And I rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. 

Strophe IV (Chap. viii. 1 — 3). 
1 Thus the Lord God shewed me ; 
And behold a basket of endings 1 . 

1 "Endings ," lit. summer -fruit, so called because it comes at the 
end of the year. I have coined the word endings in order to preserve 
the play upon the word end which occurs in the Hebrew. 



vi] ON THE STROPHE 105 

2 And He said, What seest thou, Amos? 
And I answered, A basket of endings. 

And Jahve said to me, The end is coming for My people 

Israel ; 
/ will not again pass by them. 

3 And the Temple songs shall be howlings in that day, saith 

the Lord God. 
Many the corpses, in every place, one casts them forth with 
silence. 

A fine example of the prophetical use of the 
refrain is found in Is. ix. 7 — 20. I have based my 
translation upon the critical edition of the Hebrew 
text in " The Sacred Books of the Old Testament. ,, 
The rhetoric of the Prophet becomes lyric through 
intensity of feeling. 

7 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, 

And it lighted on Israel. 

8 And the whole of the People shall know, 
Even Ephraim and the dwellers in Samaria 
That [stiffen their necks] with pride 
Saying thus, in stoutness of heart ; — 

9 Bricks have failed | hewn-stone we build; 

Felled are the sjcomores ; | we replace them with cedars. 

10 So Jahve sets up his [enemies] against him, 

And his foes He incites. 

11 lildom in front | and the Philistine behind, 
And they eat up Israel, open-mouthed. 
For all this His anger turns not, 

Bat His hand is stretched out still. 

12 Yet the People turns n6t to its Smiter, 

And seeks not to Jahve. 



106 ISAIAH AND PROVERBS [ch. 

13 So He cuts from Israel head and tail 
Palm-branch and rush, in one day! 

16 For 'tis wholly vile and evil ; 
And every mouth speaketh folly. 
For all this His anger turns not, 
But His hand is stretched out still. 

17 For wickedness burnetii like fire 
That devoureth brier and thorn 

When it kindles the thickets of the forest 
Till they mount in pillars of smoke. 
18 a Through Jahve's wrath shall the Land be kindled, 
And the people be as fuel for the fire, 

19 When it snatches on the right, but hungers, 
And devoureth on the left, unsatisfied. 

18 c So no man hath pity on brother ; 

Each devours the flesh of his [fellow] ; 

20 Manasseh, Ephraim ; and Ephraim, Manasseh ; 
And both against Judah together ! 

For all this His anger turns not, 
But His hand is stretched out still. 

(Chap, x.) 

1 Ho ! you decreers of unrighteous decrees ! 
Inditers of edicts oppressive ! 

2 Thrusting the feeble from justice, 
And stealing the right of My poor ! 
So that widows become their spoil, 
And the fatherless they may rob ! 

3 What will ye do in the day of visitation, 
The desolation that comes from afar ? 
To whom will ye flee as a refuge ? 

And where will ye leave your wealth? 



vi] ON THE STROPHE 107 

4 

For all this His dnger turns not, 
But His hand is stretched out still. 

Even in the Book of Proverbs we find instances 
of strophical arrangement. The Wisdom literature, 
regarded as poetry, is somewhat stiff and pedantic, as 
we have already seen in the Alphabetical Psalms, but 
it represents a phase of Judaism, influenced prob- 
ably in its later form by Greek thought, which is well 
worthy of study. I select as an example the famous 
Wisdom-passage in Prov. viii. The word which we 
translate "workman" (E.V. "one brought up"\ in 
v. 30, is not altogether certain, but, in other passages, 
we find the thought of Wisdom as a builder and as 
cooperating with God in Creation. Thus : 
(Prov. xxiv. 3.) 

Through Wisdom is builded the house, 
And stablished it is by discretion. 

Compare Jer. x. 12, li. 15 where almost the same 
words are applied to God as the Creator of the World. 

Also (Prov. iii. 19.) 

Jahve through Wisdom built earth ; 
Through discretion He stablished the heavens. 

And (Prov. ix. 1.) 

Wisdom hath builded her house ; 
Hath hewn out her seven pillars. 

We now offer a translation of Prov. viii. 1 ff. 



108 PROVERBS VIII [ch. 

(Prov. viii. Metre 3 + 3.) 
Strophe I. In praise of Wisdom. 

1 D6th not Wisdom cry, | and Prudence titter her voice? 

2 In the chief of the public high-places, | she standeth amid 

the paths; 

3 By the City entrance gates, | at the 6pening of the doors she 

cries ; — 

4 Unto you, men, I call ; | and my voice is to sons of men. 

5 ye simple, give heed unto prudence, | and, ye f6ols, prepare 

your hearts. 

6 Hear, for I speak a verity (?) | and the opening of my lips is 

Equity. 

7 For 'tis truth that my mouth shall titter, | while wickedness 

is abhorred by my lips. 

8 All the words of my mouth are in Tightness, | naught in 

them crooked or fro ward. 

9 They are all of them plain to the wise, | and right to them 

that find knowledge. 
10 Accept ye my teaching — not silver — | and knowledge pre- 
ferred to choice-gold 1 . 

Strophe II. Wisdom in relation to man. 

12 t [Wisdom] do neighbour with Prudence, | knowledge and 

discretion I attain. 

13 Arrogance, pride, and wrong-doing, | and the froward niotith, 

do I hate. 

14 Counsel is mine, and sound-knowledge, | mine (is) under- 

standing and might. 

15 Through me kings do reign, | and princes rightly bear sway. 

16 Through me rulers do rule, | and nobles govern justly. 

1 I agree with Miiller in rejecting v. 11 as a gloss introduced from 
chapter iii. 14 f. 



vi] ON THE STROPHE 109 

17 t love them that love 1116, | and my diligent-seekers shall 

find me. 

18 Wealth and honour are mine, | durable riches and righteous- 

ness. 

19 My fruit is better than finest-gold, | my produce than choicest 

silver. 

20 In the way that is right I go, | in the midst of the paths of 

judgement : 

21 To give the true-wealth to my friends, | and to fill their 

treasuries full. 

Strophe III. Wisdom in relation to God. 

22 Jahve gat Me at the first, | before His works of yore. 

23 From of old was I moulded — | from the first beginnings of 

earth : 

24 While as yet were no deeps was I formed, | when no fountains 

abounded (?) with water : 

25 E'er the mountains' foundations were laid, | before the hills 

was I framed : 

26 Before He made earth and fields, | and the t6pmost dust of 

the world. 

27 There was I when He framed the heavens, | when He circled 

the face of the deep : 

28 When He set the sky firm up above, | when He strengthened 

the wells of the deep 1 : 

29 When He made for the Sea His law, | that its waters should 

not exceed : | when he la wed the foundations of 6arth. 

30 Then was I, His workman, by Him, j rejoicing before Him at 

all times : 

31 Rejoicing in the world of His earth, | my delights being the 

sons of men. 

1 v. 28 b . This reads like a gloss to explain v. 27 b . The super- 
fluous member of v. 29, i.e. v. 29* would read better here. 



110 PSALM XLVI [ch. 

Here we have three clearly marked strophes of 
ten lines each. The first strophe may be regarded 
as introductory in praise of wisdom. The second 
strophe treats of wisdom on earth, in relation to 
man, while the third strophe treats of wisdom in 
Heaven, in relation to God. Compare the Alpha- 
betical Psalms cxi. and cxii. I have shewn in my 
Introduction to the Alphabetical Psalms that the 
number ten, the number of the Covenant, plays a 
most important part in their arrangement (see Psalms 
in Three Collections, pp. 26 — 49). The writer of 
Prov. viii. belonged to the same school and would be 
influenced by similar motives. 

The next illustration we shall take will be Psalm 
xlvi. in which the original metre is clearly 

(2 + 2) + (2 + 2) 
with a ring that reminds us of the Anapaest. 

This Psalm, however, contains some lines in the 
more common metre of 3 + 3 which seem to interrupt 
the sense, and which may possibly be due to a later 
writer. Since our present object is to illustrate the 
metre I shall, in my translation, avail myself of Roth- 
stein's Hebrew Text and shall omit the portions which 
he marks in smaller type as not belonging to the 
original Poem, while I refer the Hebrew scholar to 
his critical notes. Rothstein regards the refrain as 
3 + 3 metre. Thus: 

Jahve of Hosts is with us I our Tower is Jacob's God. 



vi] ON THE STROPHE 111 

I would, however, call attention to the fact that 
the Divine Names, which may have been written with 
abbreviations, are peculiarly uncertain. 

(Ps. xlvi.) 

Metre (2 + 2)+(2+2). Refrain 3 + 3. 

2 Jahve is ours, | a refuge and a strength, | 

a help in distresses | most ready to be found. 

Therefore we fear not, | though earth suffer change, | 
though mountains remove | to the heart of the seas. 

[Jahve of Hosts is with us, | our tower is Jacob's God.] 

4 Waters may rage, | mountains may quake | 

at the swelling of the River, | the raging of its waves. 

7 Nations may rage, | kingdoms be moved | — 

He utters His voice | earth is dissolved ! 

8 Jahve of Hosts is with us | our tower is Jacob's God. 

9 Come ye and see | the doings of Jahve, | 

who quieteth war I to remotest earth. 

11 Be still and know | that I am God; | 

exalted 'mid the Nations, | exalted in the earth. 

12 Jahve of H6sts is with us, | our tower is Jacob's God. 

I do not pledge myself to accept all Rothstein's 
emendations but they are certainly of interest as 
shewing the value of metrical study in textual 
criticism. 

If we admit that the Psalm has been revised I 
would suggest that the object of the revision was to 
connect it with such passages as Is. xxxiii. 20 fF. where 



112 USE OF REFRAIN [oh. 

God Himself is the " River " that lends such security 
to Jerusalem. Thus : 

20 Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem 

A quiet abode, a tent that removeth not, 
Whose pegs are never drawn out, 
And none of whose cords become rent. 

21 For there (as) a River Jahve is ours, 
A place of canals, wide-reaching ; 
Wherein no trireme can come 

Nor can war-ship pass through it. 

22 For Jahve our judge— 
Jahve our leader — 
Jahve our King — 

He (it is) will save us. 

This passage is not without difficulty (see Hebrew 
text in Sacred Boohs of 0. T.) but the general sense 
is clear. Other cities, like Babylon, Thebes, or Tyre, 
were protected by mighty waters ; Jerusalem had no 
River, but, better far, had the protection of God. 

Other instances of the use of a refrain will be 
found in Pss. xxxix. 6, 12 (5, 11); xlii. 6, 12 (5, 11), 
with xliii. 5; xlix. 13, 21 (12, 20); lvi. 5, 11 (4, 11); 
lvii. 6, 12 (5, 11); lix. 7, 15 (6, 14); 10, 18 (9, 17); 
lxii. 3, 7 (2, 6); lxvii. 4, 6 (3, 5); lxxx. 4, 8, 20 (3, 7, 
19); lxxxvii. 4 C , 6 C ; xcix. 3 C , 5 C , 9 C ; cvii. 6, 13, 19, 28 
and 8, 15, 21, 31 ; cxvi. 13 b f., 17 b f. Also the response 
throughout Ps. cxxxvi. 

Some of these passages are treated at length in 
other chapters (see pp. 50 ff. ; 80 ; 114 f.) and, indeed, 



vi] ON THE STROPHE 113 

the whole of our chapter on Alphabetical Poetry is 
an illustration of the Hebrew strophe. 

Ps. xcix. is specially interesting as an example of 
the strophe marked by a refrain. In the present text 
the refrain occurs three times and in an augmented 
form. Thus the Psalm is divided into three strophes, 
the first two being nearly equal, while the third is a 
double strophe. Many commentators (Wellhausen, 
Duhm, &c.) assume that what I have called a double 
strophe w r as originally divided by a refrain, which has 
been lost, after v. 7. But this, I think, is a mistake. 
The thrice-repeated "Holy" (vv. 3, 5, 9) is, as in Is. 
vi., the cry of the Cherubim who are mentioned in 
v. 1. As, in Is. vi., the Angels acclaim the Advent of 
God's "Glory" on earth, so, in the present Psalm, the 
trisagion acclaims His coming Kingdom. 

In strophe I the thought centres upon the potcer 
of the Divine King ; in strophe II upon His justice ; 
in strophe III upon His mercy. Thus the trisagion 
of the refrain acclaims three aspects of the Divine 
Nature. 

The opening words of v. 1 denote, in the original, 
not the mere fact of Jahves Kingship, but rather, 
that His reign on earth has begun. The Psalm 
belongs to a group of Psalms which we might call the 
Psalms of the Kingdom of God. 

A question arises as to the metre of the Psalm. 
Undoubtedly the greater part is in beats of two 

K. 8 



114 AUGMENTED REFRAIN [ch. 

accents, but, in vv. 5, 6 and 9, we have lines of three 
accents. Is this due to a revision of the Psalm or 
was it the intention of the original writer ? 
Verse 6 might be literally translated 

"Moses and Aaron among His priests 
And Samuel among the Callers on His Name," 

but the Hebrew idiom rather signifies that Moses and 
Aaron were chief est of His priests and that Samuel 
was chief est of those that intercede. Thus they 
represent types of intercession. 

(Ps. xcix. Metre (2 + 2) + (2 + 2) with occasional 
passages of 3 4- 3.) 

Strophe I. The holiness of God in His power. 

1 Jahve is King, | though the Peoples may rage ; | He is throned 

on the Cherub, | though earth may be moved. 

2 Jahve in Zion | is great and exalted ; | exalted is He | above 

all the Peoples. 

3 They praise Thy Name, | the great and the terrible : | Holy 

is He. 

Strophe II. The holiness of God in His justice. 

4 [Thou art] the King | that lovest right. — 

Thou hast established | equity (and) justice ; | righteousness 
in Jacob | Thou hast wrought. 

5 Exalt ye Jahve our God 

And bow at the stool of His feet 
Holy is He. 



vi] ON THE STROPHE 115 

Strophe III. The holiness of G<>d in His mercy. 

6 Moses and Aaron His priests ; 
And Samuel ani6ng intercessors ; 

To Jahve they cry | and He gives them Answer ; 

7 In the pillar of cloud | He speaks with them : 

They kept His testimonies | and a statute He gave them. 

8 Jahve, our God, | Thou answeredst them ; 
A God forgiving | Thou wast to them ; 
While punishing their deeds. 

9 Exdlt ye Jahve our God 

And bow at the Mount of His holiness 
For Holy is Jahve our God. 

We must now consider instances in which the 
strophe is not marked either by alphabetical arrange- 
ment or by a refrain but determined only by a careful 
study of the contents, e.g. Ps. xiii. Here the metre 
is in four beats except for the third line where a 
marginal gloss seems to have crept into the text 
making the line too long. 

It may be well first to offer a translation and 
then to consider how far we are justified in dividing 
the Psalm into strophes. 

(Ps. xiii. Metre 4 + 4.) 

(a How long wilt Thou utterly forget me, Jahve? 
b How long wilt Thou hide Thy countenance from 
me? 
Sorroic J c How long must I lay distress to mind ? 

[Gloss, grit'/ in my heart all day.] 
How long shall mine enemy exalt himself against 
me I 

8—2 



116 WITHOUT REFRAIN [ch. 

r a x Regard Thou and answer me, J alive my God. 

p % bi Lighten mine eyes lest I sleep in death. 

Jt ' Ci Let not mine enemy say, I have mastered him. 

d\ [Let not] my foes exult at my fall. 

ia 2 As for me in Thy kindness I trust — 

Joy h> 2 My heart exults in Thy salvation — 

\c 2 I sing unto Jahve for His bounty towards me — 

d 2 (Missing, but see Septuagint.) 

It is evident that the Psalm falls naturally into 
three parts. The first four lines are all sorrow, the 
second four lines are all prayer, and the last three 
lines are all joy. But, if our theory be right, we 
should have expected four lines also in the last 
strophe. And here the Septuagint comes to our aid 
and supplies exactly the line that we require to 
conclude the third strophe and to complete the 
parallelism. Thus : 

u l give praise to the Name of Jahve most High? 

Undoubtedly this represents the original text. Thus 
we have three strophes of four lines each, conveying 
by their arrangement the spiritual lesson that sorrow 
is turned into joy through prayer. 

But further. I think we may trace a relation 
between the lines which I have marked abed, afi&di, 
a 2 b 2 e 2 d 2 . Thus : The Sorrow in a and b is on account of 
the hiding of Gods countenance, i.e. it is sorrow from 
God. The sorrow in c and d is on account of the 
oppression of enemies, i.e. it is sorrow from man. 



vi] ON THE STROPHE 117 

So the Prayer in a^ and & x is for the restoration of 
God's countenance ; while, in c x and d x it is deliver- 
ance from enemies. So, too, the Joy in a 2 and 6 2 is 
a thanksgiving for the restoration of Gods favour, 
while in c 2 and e? 2 it refers to the benefit received 
through deliverance from foes. 

As to the word in line 3 which (following the 
Syriac) I translate "distress" the Hebrew has a 
similar word which signifies "counsel." I suggest 
that this difficult line gave rise to an early gloss 
"grief in my heart &&" and that this gloss became 
incorporated in the text. 

The beautiful Shepherd-Psalm (xxiii.) which is, 
perhaps, more familiar than any other Psalm in the 
Psalter, will reveal new beauties to us if we carefully 
study its structure. The main division of the Psalm 
at the close of verse 3 is obvious even to a careless 
reader. But the relation between the two strophes 
thus obtained is not generally understood and our 
present division into verses tends to obscure it. The 
metre of the Hebrew is elegiac, or Kinah measure, 
with an additional stichos in v. 4 a which may, or 
may not, be due to a gloss. 

In strophe I (vv. 1 — 3) we see the Good Shepherd 
caring for the sheep in three ways, (a) by His Presence, 
(b) by feeding it, (c) by guiding it. Thus it will be 
seen that the three lines of strophe I may be summed 
up under the heads Presence, Refreshment, Guidance. 



118 



STROPHE AND SENSE 



[oh. 



In strophe II (vv. 4 — 6) each line of strophe I is 
expanded into two lines with the same thoughts of 
Presence, Refreshment and Guidance. For the 
spiritual lessons which follow from this arrangement 
I may perhaps be allowed to refer to Psalms in Three 
Collections, Part I, pp. 104 ff. 



Presence 

Refreshment 

Guidance 



Presence 



Refreshment 



Guidance 



(Ps. xxiii. Metre 3 + 2.) 

Strophe I. 

1 Jahve's my Shepherd — I want not. | 'Mid ver- 
dure He tends me; 

2 b By restful streams He leads me ; | He restoreth 
my soul ; 

3 He guideth in paths that are right ; | for His 
own Name's sake. 

Strophe II. 

(4t Though I go through the Valley of Gloom | no 
evil I fear ; | for Thou art beside me ; 
Thy rod and Thy staying-staff; | they are my 
comfort. 
(5 Thou spreadest a table for me, | in the sight 
of my foes ; 
Thou enrichest my head with oil, | my cup 
overflows ! 

(6 Naught but goodness and mercy pursue me | 
all the days of my life ; 
I am homed in the House of Jahve, | for ever 
I and ever ! 



One further illustration of the way in which the 
meaning of a passage is brought out by the study of 



vi] ON THE STROPHE 119 

its strophical arrangement may be given from the 
beautiful song in Is. xi. 1 — 8. I translate from the 
critical text omitting v. 3 a as an obvious gloss (with 
Bickell, Cheyne, Duhm, &c). 

1 There corneth a Shoot from Jesse-stem, 
And a Branch buds forth from his roots : 

2 And there resteth on him Jahve's Spirit : — 

(a) The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, 

(b) The Spirit of Counsel and Strength, 

(c) The Spirit of Knowledge and Piety; 

That he judge not by sight of his eyes ; 
Xor convict by the sense of his ears, 



(«i) 



,, v U And he judges the feeble with right ; 
{ ° l) 1 A 



And justly convicts for the poor. 

And he smiteth the tyrant with rod of mouth ; 

And slayeth the wicked with breath of his lips. 

And right is the girdle of his loins ; 
And faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 
6 And the wolf shall lodge with the lamb ; 
And the leopard lie down with the kid. 
And the calf and the lion shall pasture (together); 
And a little child mav lead them. 



M 

M 
(W 

w 

(03) f 

(h) f 

M { 

If this passage be carefully studied it will be seen 
that it is ruled by the numbers three and rix. Each 



And the cow and the bear shall graze ; 
Their young-ones lie down together. 
And the lion like the ox eats hay ; 
And the baby sports by the asp-hole. 
And over the den of the basilisk 
The weaned-child lavs his hand. 



120 STROPHE AND SENSE [oh. vi 

of the three lines which I have marked (a), (6), (c) 
contains two gifts of the Spirit. These three lines 
are developed in three strophes of six lines each 
which run in pairs corresponding more or less closely 
with the gifts of the Spirit in the lines (a), (6), (c). I 
have indicated these relations by the letters a 1} b J} d\ 

The arrangement in verses is quite wrong and 
tends to obscure the meaning. Thus the omission of 
the gloss 3 a , w r hich we omitted on purely critical 
grounds, is also defended by the structure of the 
poem. 



CHAPTER VII 

OX DRAMATIC LYRICS 

Though drama, in the sense of the acted play, 
is alien to the spirit of Hebrew poetry, yet it is not 
so with the dramatic lyric which vividly pictures a 
scene and introduces change of thought and speaker, 
indicated, at times, by a change of metre. We may 
illustrate this from the Song of Songs, generally 
called the Song of Solomon. Probably no two 
commentators would agree as to the interpretation 
of the poem in every detail, but all would admit that 
it consists of a series of dramatic lyrics which may be 
divided into Acts and that it thus approximates more 
nearly to the drama than any other poem in the 
literature of the Bible. 

The outline is briefly as follows. A beautiful 
Shulammite (cf. Shunammite, 1 K. i. 3) maiden is 
taken into the royal harem, where, in spite of all 
temptation, she remains true to the shepherd-lover 
of her northern home, and is at last permitted to 
return to him as his spotless bride, thus to vindicate 
the worth of love (viii. 6 ff.). 

In the translations which I give as specimens of 
this poem I have availed myself of Rothstein's Hebrew 



122 THE SONG OF SONGS [oh. 

text in his Grunchilge des hebraischen Rhythmics, 
though I have not always accepted his emendations. 
In chap. i. 9 — 14 we have to distinguish the 
speakers by the context and the structure of the 
strophe. Thus : 

Solomon is flattering the maiden. 
9 To a steed in a Pharaoh's chariot, | I compare thee my love. 

10 Fair were thy cheeks with the pearl-rings, | thy neck with 

the jewels: 

1 1 We will make for thee strings of gold | with points of silver. 

Throughout this strophe the king keeps up his 
somewhat coarse simile of the steed with its trappings. 
All he has to give is gold and silver. 

In the next strophe the maiden replies with 
modesty. She wonders that she should have found 
favour with the king, but assures him that she has 
given her love elsewhere. If her perfume has reached 
to the king, she herself knows one who, to her, is 
sweeter than all myrrh. Thus : 

12 Can it be to the king on his divan | my perfume hath reached ? 

13 My true-love's the bundle of myrrh | that lies in my bosom. 

14 My true-love's the cluster of henna | on the slopes of En-gedi. 

(Chap. ii. 3. Metre 3 + 2.) 

The Shulammite, thinking of her absent lover. 

As the apple 'mid trees of the forest | 

so my love amid youths. 
In his shadow I joyed as I sat | 

and his fruit was my sweet. 



vii] ON DRAMATIC LYRICS 123 

(Chap. ii. 8 ff.) 

Another reminiscence of the maiden, picturing her lover's 
invitation to come forth and enjoy the spring (Metre 3 + 2+2). 

My love ! lo here he comes ! | leaping on the mountains | skipping 

on the hills. 
He is here, behind our wall; | peering through the windows | 

glancing through the lattice. 
My love he speaks and calls me ; | Rise my darling, | Come my 

fair-one. 
For 16, the winter's over ; | rain is past ; | the cold is gone. 
Flowers are seen in the earth ; | song-time is come, | the ring-dove 

is heard. 
The fig-tree is riping her balls, | the vines are in bloom, | giving 

forth scent. 
Arise then, my darling, my dove, | to the clefts of the rock, | to 

the covert of steeps. 
Shew me thy face, let me hear thee ; | for sweet is thy voice, | thy 

countenance comely. 

Someone sings a vineyard song (Metre 2 + 2). 

Catch us the foxes, | the foxes so small, 

That are spoiling the vineyards, j our vineyards in bloom. 

Another brief passage in the rare metre (3 + 2 + 2) 
is found in chap. iv. 8 — 13. It seems to continue the 
invitation to the walk in spring (ii. 8ff.) which we 
have already translated, and, like that passage, it 
breaks into the (2 + 2) metre of popular song. 

In my translation I follow Rothsteins Hebrew 
text. 



124 THE SONG OF SONGS [ch. 

(Chap. iv. 8 ff. Metre 3 + 2 + 2.) 
From Lebanon came my bride ; | with me from Lebanon ; | from 

the dens of the lions. 
From the top of Aniana look forth, | from the top of Shenir, | 

from the mountains of leopards. 
bride thou hast ravished my heart I with a glance of thine 

eyes, | with a turn of thy neck. 
How sweet thy caresses, my bride ; | how better than wine ! | and 

thy perfume than spices! 
Thy lips as the honeycomb drip; | honey and milk | are under 

thy tongue. 
Thy cheeks a pomegranate orchard | with choicest of fruit ; | 

camphire with spikenard. 

{He sings.) 
Wake thou North-wind; | come thou South. 
Breathe on my garden, | that its spices may flow. 

The next specimen we shall give is a beautiful 
dream in which the maiden seems to herself to have 
been unkind to her true lover. 

(Chap. v. 2 ff. Metre 3 + 2.) 

I slept, but my heart was awake | — my beloved is knocking ! 
"Open, my sister, my love, | my dove, my perfection: 

For my head is filled with dew, | my locks with the drip." 
" As for me I have put off my dress ; | how can I clothe me ? 

As for me I have washen my feet ; | how can I soil them ? " 

He put forth his hand from the door ; | my compassions were 
moved. 

I rose, even I, to open ; | and my hands dripped with myrrh. 

Then I, for my love, did open; | but my love he was gone! 

My soul went forth at his passing; | I called, but no answer! 



vii] OX DRAMATIC LYRICS 125 

The maiden finally rejects her royal admirer and 
declares her loyalty to her true lover (vii. 11) : 

My love he is mine, and I his; ] his desire is to me. 

After which the metre changes back to the metre 
of chap. ii. 8 ff. (i.e. 3 + 2 + 2) and the maiden accepts 
that invitation of her shepherd-lover almost in the 
words in which it had been proposed : 

Come thou, my love, let us forth ; | let us dwell in the henna ; | let 

us visit the vineyards ; 
Let us see if the vine hath budded ; | if its blossom be open ; | if 

the pomegranates bloom. 

These three examples which we have given are, 
I believe, the only instances of this metre occurring 
in the Song. 

We must conclude with the scene, chap. viii. 5 — 7, 
which is so admirably described in Dr Harper's Com- 
mentary on the Sony of Solomon that I must borrow 
his words : 

" The scene depicted in these verses is the return 
of the Shulammite with her lover to the village. As 
they draw near she leans upon him in weariness, and 
they are observed by some of the villagers, who ask 
the question in p. 5 a . The lovers meantime come 
slowly on, and as they come he points out an apple 
tree under which he had once found her sleeping and 
awaked her, and then as they come in sight of it, he 
points to her birthplace, her mother's home. In 



126 THE SONG OF SONGS [ch. 

vv. 6 and 7 the Shulammite utters that great panegy- 
ric of love which is the climax and glory of the book. 
Because of this power of love which she feels in her 
heart she beseeches her lover to bind her closely to 
himself." 

(viii. 5 ff.) 

Scene near the village home. Villagers speak. 

5 Who is this that comes tip from the wilderness, | that leans 
on her lover? 

The bridegroom speaks to the bride. 

'Twas tinder (yon) apple I waked thee — 
'Twas there thy mother bare thee — 
'Twas there she bare thee with travail. 

The bride speaks, clinging closer to her lover. 

6 Set me as a seal on thine heart; 
(Set me) as a seal on thine arm; 
For love is strong as death; 
Jealousy is cruel as the grave; 
It flames with a God-like flame. 

The villagers draw the moral of the bride's constancy — 
speaking in prose. 

7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can rivers drown 
it. If a man would give the whole substance of his house for love 
he would be utterly despised. 

On v. 6 Dr Harper well quotes Browning's Any 
Wife to any Husband : 



vii] OX DRAMATIC LYRICS 127 

"It would not be because my eye grew dim 
Thou couldst not find the love there, thanks to Him 

Who never LB dishonoured in the spark 
He gave us from His fire of fires, and bade 
Remember whence it sprang, nor be afraid 

While that burns on, though all the rest grow dark." 

Another example of the dramatic lyric may be 
given from the Songs of Isaiah. 

Isaiah is specially fond of paronomasia and 
assonance (e.g. v. 7, x. 30, &c.) which he uses with 
great effect. He is not afraid also to use the language 
of mythology. Thus we cannot understand his song 
on Aral without being reminded that the sound of 
the word would, to the Hebrew ear, suggest two 
thoughts, (a) "the Lion of God" (b) " altar-hearth " 
for sacrifice, and also that the word Dod might be 
taken either as the name David, or in its original 
significance as the divine name, as on the Moabite 
Stone. See Bennett's note on the Moabite Stone in 
Hast Diet., p. 407, where he calls attention to the 
fact that in the three or four places in which Arid 
occurs " it is connected with the City of David in Is. 
xxix. 1 and with DWDH here." The sense of Ariel 
as an "altar-hearth" will be found in Ezek. xliii. 15 f. 

The Song on Ariel (Is. xxix. 1 if'.) opens, I believe, 
with the boastful words of the enemy (? Sennacherib) 
as follows : 
1 Alas ! Ariel, Ariel ; | City where Dod encamps | 

Add (but) year unto year; ; let the seasons go round: 



128 DOD AND DAVID [ch. 

2 Then do I straiten Ariel, [i.e. God's Lion] 
And moaning and groaning shall be: 

And to me she becomes Ariel. [i.e. an altar-heart]^ 

3 And I camp like Dod against thee, 

And lay siege with a mo and against thee, 
And raise up against thee towers. 

4 Till thou speak, being abased, from the ground, 
Thy speech coming thin from the dust; 

And thy voice be as ghost from the ground, 
Thy whispering words from the dust. 

Here the scene changes and God speaks and 
assures His City of His protection. The metre here 
also changes. Thus : 

5 Then the host of thy foes I becometh small-dust, 
And as drifting chaff | the host of thy tyrants: 

And this shall be sudden and instant. 

Here again the scene changes. No longer do we 
hear the words of God but the Prophet himself 
describes the deliverance that he sees in the vision of 
prophecy. Thus : 

6 By Jahve of Hosts she is visited, 

With thunder, and earthquake, and mighty-voice ; 
With whirlwind, tempest, and devouring flame. 

It is evident from the words which follow that the 
"visitation " of God is for the redemption of His City 
and for the destruction of the "multitude of the 
nations that fight against Ariel" (v. 7). 

The names Dod, Dodu, David are the same, and 
signify Love or the Beloved The Jebusite stronghold 



vii] ON DRAMATIC LYRICS 129 

may very possibly have been regarded as " the City of 
D6du " before it was taken by David and called after 
his own name (2 S. v. 7). 

There is another Song of Isaiah's in which he 
appears to me to use Dodu as a name of God. It is 
the Song of the Vineyard (v. 1 ff.). 

Let me now sing for Dodu | Dodu's song of his vineyard. 
Dodu had a vineyard | on a hill very fertile. 
And he fenced it, and cleared it and planted it choicely. 
And he built therein a tower, 
And also hewed him a wine-vat. 
So he looked it should yield him grapes — 
And it yielded but wild-grapes ! 

Thus we have the " City of David " and the Vine- 
yard (or Vine) of David. The Vine was the emblem 
of Judah (Ezek. xv. ; Gen. xlix. 11 ; Ps. lxxx. 8 — 14) 
and I suggest that the difficult passage in The Teaching 
of the Twelve Apostles, Ch. ix., respecting the " Vine 
of David" had its origin in Isaiah's Song of the Vine 
or Song of the Vineyard, for the word may be trans- 
lated either way. 

The passage in the " Teaching n runs thus : 

"Now, concerning the Eucharist, thus shall ye 
give thanks. First with regard to the Cup : — We 
give thanks to Thee, our Father, for the holy Vine 
(of) David Thy Servant which Thou madest known 
unto us through Jesus Thy Servant." The Suffering 
Servant is the " very vine " of God (Jn. xv. 1 — 5). 

k. 9 



130 PSALM II [ch. 

The second Psalm may be given as a good illus- 
tration of Dramatic Lyrics, though we might have 
been equally justified in regarding it as an example 
of the strophe. The change of speaker is vividly 
distinguished by the context. Thus, in v. 3 we have 
the rebel words of the earth-powers; in v. 6 the 
words of God with respect to His Anointed ; while, 
in vv. 7 — 9, the Anointed himself speaks of his God- 
given authority. Thus there is a relation between 
strophes II and III, while strophe IV exactly corre- 
sponds with strophe I. I have left the difficult line 
v. 12 a untranslated because this is not the place for a 
critical investigation of the text. The corresponding 
reference to the " Christ " in v. 2, and to the " Son " in 
v. 7, would lead us to expect some such line as, " Obey 
the Son lest he be angry and ye perish." It is only 
fair to say that the text as it stands is uncertain on 
critical grounds and does not quite suit the metre. 

(Psalm ii.) 

Strophe I. The Voice of the Psalmist. 

1 Why do the heathen rage | and the peoples vainly design? 

2 The kings of the earth stand up | and princes are banded 

together 

'Gainst Jahve and 'gainst His Christ! 

3 "Let us break asunder their b6nds | and cast from 6ff us their 

fetters. " 



vii] ON DRAMATIC LYRICS 131 

Strophe II. The scene in heaven. 

4 The throned-One in heaven laughs ; | the Lord but derides 

them ! 

5 He speaketh to them in His anger | and troubleth them in 

His wrath. 

6 "Twas I that anointed My King | on Zion My holy Mount." 

Strophe III. The Voice of the Anointed. 

7 Let me tell of Jahve's decree — 

He said to me, Thou art My Son, | it is I, this day, have 
begotten thee. 

8 Ask of Me that I give thee | nations thine heritage, | the 

ends of the earth thy possession. 

9 Thou shalt break them with sceptre of iron, | as a potter's 

vessel shalt shatter them. 

Strophe IV. The Voice of the Psalmist. 

10 And now, ye kings, be wise; | be warned ye judges of earth. 

11 Serve ye Jahve with fear; | and... unto Him with trembling. 
12 

For his anger may easily burn. | Happy they that take refuge 
in Him. 



9—2 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 

To every poet the spring of the year is a prophecy 
of new creation. Shelley felt this when he wrote : 

" The airs and streams renew their joyous tone ; 
The ants, the bees, the swallows, reappear ; 
Fresh leaves and flowers deck the dead season's bier. 
The loving birds now pair in every brake, 
And build their mossy homes in field and brere; 
And the green lizard and the golden snake, 
Like unimprison'd flames, out of their trance awake, 
Through wood and stream, and field and hill and ocean, 
A quickening life from the earth's heart has burst, 
As it has ever done, with change and motion, 
From the great morning of the world! when first 
God dawn'd on chaos: ..." 

No wonder then, if to the Hebrew poet, who was, 
before all things, a prophet, the cycle of the seasons 
shall speak of God's eternal purpose for His worlds. 

It would not be difficult to shew that the " Days " 
of Creation (Gen. i.) are based upon the months of 
the year, commencing from the spring, which, as 
Shelley reminds us, is the type of " the great morning 
of the world." In a little book like this I cannot do 



ch. viii] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 133 

more than suggest a few thoughts on this wide and 
important subject. For this purpose I commence 
with Ps. civ. and must repeat, in part, what I have 
written in my Introduction to that Psalm (Psalms in 
Three Collections, p. 430). 

The Psalm is based upon the "Six Days" of 
Creation as given in the Priest-code (Gen. i.). There 
is, however, this important difference that, whereas 
Gen. i. purposes to relate in prose the order of life's 
first beginnings, our Psalmist, with a poet's instinct, 
recognises Creation as an eternal work which is still 
going on and which all points to a " far off Divine 
Event," viz. the completion of God's joy in His works. 
This being so he sees no inconsistency in regarding 
animals, birds and men as being already in existence 
on the Third Day. We might analyse the Psalm as 
follows : 

vi\ 1, 2. The First Day, like the first month in 
spring, is filled with the promise of the birth of 
light. 

vi\ 3, 4. The Second Day reminds us how God 
builds His firmament, making, as Shelley says, 

"...the winds and sunbeams, with their convex gleams 
Build up the blue dome of air," 

thus causing the very elements of destruction to 
contribute to the conservation of the earth. 

rr. 5 — 18. The Third Day, like the third month, 
is "the gift of seed." It reminds us how (a) God 



134 "DAYS" OF CREATION [ch. 

has taken the waters, which were once the winding- 
sheet of a dead earth, and made them countless rills 
of blessing to birds and beasts and men. It also 
reminds us (6) how God made the dry land thus to 
become the bountiful seed-plot of corn and wine and 
oil. 

vv. 19—23. The Fourth Day, like the fourth 
month (the month of the summer stolstice) tells 
God's good purpose in darkness as well as in light, 
while it points to the final triumph of light (v. 22 f.). 

vv. 24—30. The Fifth Day, like the fifth month 
(which even in the nature-religion of Babylonia was 
dedicated to Istar as the bona dea of fertility), tells 
of the infinite variety of God's "creatures" and of 
His care for all their needs. 

vv. 31 — 35. The Sixth Day, like the autumn 
month, sums up the growing purpose of the whole 
Creation, viz. that this bountiful God may rejoice at 
last in a world from which all evil has been expelled. 

The metre of the Psalm is 3 4- 3 with occasional 
triplets. 

(Ps. civ.) 

The First "Day" of Creation (Gen. i. 3—5). Voices of Spring. 

1 Thou art great, O my G6d, exceedingly : | Thou hast decked 

Thee with splendour and majesty. 

2 Putting on light as a garment ; | spreading out the heavens 

as a curtain. 



vni] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 135 

The Second "Day" of Creation (Gen. i. 6—8). God's Building 
seen in the Firmament (cf. Ps. xix. 2). 

8 j He fl6oreth His upper-chambers in the waters ; 
<Re maketh thick clouds His chariot; 

(He moveth on wings of the wind. 

4 Making the winds His angels | the flaming fire His ministers. 

The Third "Day" of Creation (Gen. i. 9f.\ Dry land 
and seed. 

5 He founded the earth on her bases ; | that she should not be 

moved for ever. 

6 With the Deep, as a garment, Thou hast covered her; | so 

the waters stood over the mountains. 

7 At Thy rebuke they flee ;— 

At the voice of Thy thunder they hasten : — 
8 b To the place Thou hadst founded for them : 

9 Nor transgress the limit assigned them, | nor return to 

cover the earth. 

10 He sendeth the springs down the channels ; j among the 

mountains they run. 

11 They give drink to all beasts of the field; | wild-asses may 

quench their thirst. 

13 He gives mountains to drink from His chambers ; | Earth is 

filled from the fruit of Thy works. 

14 Making grass to spring for the cattle j and herbage for 

tillage of man. 

15 To bring forth food from the earth | and wine that may 

gladden man's heart. 
Cheering the face with oil | and food that should strengthen 
man's heart. 

16 The trees of God have their fill; j the cedars of Lebanon 

that He planted. 



136 "DAYS" OF CREATION [ch. 

12 On them dwell fowls of heaven: | 'mid their branches they 
utter their song. 

17 'Tis there the little-birds nest; | the stork (too) whose home 

is the firs. 

18 The lofty hills for the goats; | the crags are a refuge for the 

conies. 

The Fourth "Day" of Creation (Gen. i. 14—19). The lesser 
and greater lights. The cycle of the festivals. 

19 He maketh the moon for the seasons; | and the sun knows 

the place of his setting. 

20 Thou makest darkness — it is night — | all beasts of the 

forest creep forth. 

21 The lions roaring for prey | and seeking their meat from God. 

22 The sun but rises — they are gone, | and lay them down in 

their dens. 

23 Man goeth forth to his work, | to his labour until the 

evening. 

The Fifth "Day" of Creation (Gen. i. 20—23). The voices 
of summer. The teeming life of earth and sea. 

24 Jahve, how great are Thy works! 

The whole Thou hast wrought in wisdom ! 
The earth is filled with Thy wealth ! 

25 This sea, so great and wide-spreading, 
Wherein are things creeping innumerable ; 
Creatures both small and great. 

26 There the ships [Uhe nautili] go along | and Leviathan 

formed for Thy plaything. 

27 They all look expectant to Thee | to gi\e them their food in 

its season. 

28 Thou givest to them — they gather it : | Thou 6penest Thy 

hand — they are sated. 



villi THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 137 

29 Thou hidest Thy Face— they are troubled : 
Thou wfthdr&west their breath — they expire, 
Aud return again to tlieir d 

30 Thou sendest Thy breath — they are made — | Thou renewest 

the face of the ground. 

The poet now draws his conclusion as a prophet 
from the cycle of God's work which he has traced in 
creation. He would not have said with the Writer 
of Eeclesiastes that "what has been shall be and that 
there is nothing new under the sun/' On the contrary 
he sees that God is making all things new. He sees 
that God's purpose is good and that life not death is 
the end (v. 30) 

That nothing walks with aimless feet: 
That not one life shall be destroyed, 
Or cast as rubbish to the void, 

When God hath made the pile complete. 

So the conclusion to which our Psalmist arrives is 
based upon that first Sixth Day (Gen. i. 24 — 31 ). when 
God looked upon all things that He had made and 
declared them to be "very good. 91 

Afl God then rejoiced in UU works, so God will 
rejoice in the End which must mean the extinction of 
all evil. 

The Sixth "Day'' j <rp— 

Autumn <• ices. Ecert / \am l M i U ( 

31 Be the Glory of Jahve for ever I Let Jahve rejoice in His 

work - 



138 COVENANT OF CREATION [ch. 

32 Who but 16oketh on earth and it trembleth ; | He but toucheth 

the hills and they smoke. 

33 I will sing while I live unto Jahve ; J While being lasts I will 

hymn to my God. 

34 My musing on Him shall be sweet: | As for me I rejoice in 

Jahve. 

35 May sinners be ended from earth, | and the wicked exist no 

more ! 
My soul do thou bless Jahve. 

Even in the early days of the Jehovist the promise 
that "seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer 
and winter, day and night, should not cease," was 
given as the pledge of God's acceptance (Gen. viii. 22). 

The order of the seasons was, to the prophet 
Jeremiah, a token of God's everlasting covenant with 
Israel. Thus, Jer. xxxiii. 20 f. : " Thus saith Jahve, 
If ye can break My covenant, the day, and My cove- 
nant, the night, so that day and night should not be 
in their season; then may also My covenant with 
David, My servant, be broken...." 

And again, v. 25 f. : " If I did not appoint My 
covenant the day and the night as laws of heaven 
and earth; then, too, I might cast off the seed of 
Jacob and David My servant." The reader will 
notice that the Covenant of Creation becomes the 
pledge of the Covenant with David. 

Jeremiah's famous chapter (xxxi.) on the New 
Covenant closes with the same thought, w. 35 — 37 
(Heb. 34—36): "Thus saith Jahve that giveth the 



vin] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 139 

sun for light by day, the laws of the moon and stars 
for light by night... If these laws can depart from 
before Me, saith Jahve, then might the seed of 
Israel cease from being a nation before Me for 
ever...." The poet of the next generation, known 
to us as the Second Isaiah, connects this Covenant of 
Creation with the Covenant of Xoah, Is. liv. 9, " For 
this is unto Me the waters of Xoah, even as I have 
sworn that the waters of Xoah should not again pass 
over the earth so have I sworn not to be angry with 
thee (Israel) and not to rebuke thee." 

About a hundred years later the author of the 
Priest Code interprets for us the " waters of Xoah " 
by the rainbow T sign of God's Covenant with the earth 
(Gen. ix. 8—17). 

In the Asaph Psalm lxxiv. the Psalmist appeals to 
God by the Covenant of Creation, to fulfil His promise 
which seems to be delayed. The whole passage should 
be studied; we can but quote vv. 13 — 17 which refer 
to the Covenant of Creation. The emphatic use of the 
pronoun Thou should be noticed and also the refer- 
ence to the first four " Days of Creation." Thus: 

Day I. Light, or the smiting of the dragon of darkness; 
as in the Babylonian story. 

THotf with Thy p6wer | didst break the s6a, 

Didst shiver the heads | of the drasrons on the waters. 



140 CREATION AND DAVID COVENANT [ch. 

Day II. The Firmament. The chaos of waters divided ; 
as in the Babylonian story. 
Thou didst rend | the heads of Leviathan, 
Didst give him as food | to the desert folk. 

Day III. Waters in one place; dry land appears. 
Thou didst cleave | fountain and brook; 
Thou didst dry | perennial rivers. 

Day IV. The greater and lesser lights. 
Thine is the day, | Thine, too, the night; 
Thou didst establish | the lights and the sun. 

The Covenant of Creation with reference to Gen. viii. 22. 
Thou didst appoint | all boundaries of earth ; 
Summer and winter, | Thou it was didst form them. 

It will be seen that in this Psalm the metre is 
2 + 2 and, if we compare the closely parallel Psalm 
lxxxix., the study of metre opens up a most interesting 
question. For, in Ps. lxxxix. the metre, for the most 
part, is the common one of 3 + 3, but it contains 
passages of 2 + 2 metre ; and it appears to me that 
these latter passages all refer to the Covenant of 
Creation, while the passages in 3 + 3 metre refer to 
the Covenant of David. 

I shall endeavour to represent the change of metre 
in my translation and must leave the reader to judge 
whether two independent Psalms have been combined 
or whether the writer wished to place side by side 
the Covenant of David and the Covenant of Creation 
and varied his metre to suit his subject. 



viii] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 141 
(Ps. lxxxix.) 

Metre 2 + 2. Covenant of Creation. 

(a) 2 I sing the eternal | mercies of Jahve. 

(b) I make known with my mouth | Thy faithfulness for ages. 
(a{) 3 I said, as eternal, j mercy shall be built. 

(bi) As the heavens Thou establishest | (so) Thy faithfulness 

therein. 

Metre 3 + 3. The David Covenant. 

4 A covenant I made with My chosen ; 
I sware unto David My servant, 

5 Thy seed I establish for ever ; 

And build up thy throne for all ages. 

It will be seen that though the metre is different 
the language and thought is identical with that in 
w. 2, 3. It would seem that the writer wished, like 
Jeremiah, to place the " sure mercies of David " side 
by side with the sure mercies of Creation. The metre 
now changes back to that of vv. 2, 3. 

Metre 2 + 2. Covenant of Creation. 

6 For the heavens shall praise | Thy wonder-work, Jahve ; 
Thy faithfulness too | in concourse of Holy-ones. 

7 For who, in high-heaven, | compareth with Jahve ? 
Who matcheth Jahve | 5 mid sons of the gods ? 

8 A God revered | in assembly of Holy-ones ; 

Great and to be feared | by all that are around Him. 

10 Thou dost lord it | o'er the pride of the sea ; 
When his waves are uplifted, | Thou layest to rest. 

11 'Twas Thou that didst crush | proud-Rahab as slain, 
With the arm of Thy might | didst scatter Thine enemies. 



142 CREATION AND DAVID COVENANT [oh. 

12 Thine are the heavens ; | Thine too the earth. 

The world and its fulness ; | Thou (it was) didst found them. 

13 The north and the south ; | Thou (it was) created them. 
Tabor and Hermon | ring with Thy name. 

14 Thine is the arm ; | Thine is the power. 
Strong is Thy hand ; | High is Thy right-hand. 

15 Righteousness and judgement | the foundation of Thy throne, 
Mercy and truth | that go before Thy face. 

The reader will note how exactly vv. 10 ff. corre- 
spond with the verses we have already translated 
from Ps. lxxiv. : the same metre, the same mythology, 
the same reference to the "Days" of Creation, the 
same remarkable use of the emphatic " Thou." 

We now pass to verse 20 which is pure prose as 
follows : 

" Thou spakest of old in a vision with Thy saints 
[or, possibly, 'with respect to Thy Sai?it i ] and didst 
say;—' 

These words form an introduction to the Promise 
which continues as follows : 

Metre 3+3. David Covenant. 

20 I have set a cr6wn(?) on a hero; 
Have exalted one chosen of the people. 

21 I found Me David My servant ; 
With Thy h61y oil I anointed him. 

22 That My hand, should be his stay ; 
And mine arm should giwe him strength. 

23 That the enemy should not exact ; 

Nor the wicked one cause him affliction. 



viii] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 143 

24 I will beat down his foes before him, 

Will smite them that hate him. 

25 While with him is My truth and My mercy, 
In My name shall his horn be exalted. 

26 And I set his hand on the sea, 

His right-hand on the rivers. 

27 He names Me, Thou art my Father, 
My God and my Rock-Salvation. 

28 While I too appoint him My firstborn, 
A Most High to the kings of the earth. 

29 My mercy I keep his for ever, 

And for him is My covenant stablished. 

30 And I make his seed eternal, 
His thr6ne as the days of heaven. 

31 Should his s6ns forsake My law, 

So as not to walk in My judgements, 

32 Should they profane My statutes 

So as not to observe My commandments, 

33 Then I visit their transgression with a rod, 

And with scourges their sin. 

34 Yet from him I remove not My mercy; 
Nor will I prove false to My faithfulness. 

35 My C6venant will I not break; 

Nor change what My lips have announced. 

36 Once for all have I sworn by My h61iness 
That I never prove false to David. 

37 His seed shall be for ever, 

And his throne as the sun before Me. 

38 It shall stay as the moon for ever, 

And the witness that is faithful in the sky. 

The Psalm continues in the same metre to plead 
with God (as Ps. lxxiv.) the non-performance of His 



144 THE OUTSPRING [oh. 

promises, until we come to the last two rerses (51, 52) 
where it would seem to break once more into the 
(2 + 2) metre which we have already found in vv. 2, 3, 
6—15. Thus: 

51 Remember Lord | the reproach of Thy servant ; 
How I bear in my bosom | the shame of the Peoples : 

52 Wherewith they reproach — | Thine enemies, Jahve ! — 
Wherewith they reproach | the footsteps of Thy Christ. 

The text, however, in these two verses is by no 
means certain. 

I propose, in the present chapter, to examine one 
aspect of the spring, which is summed up under the 
Hebrew word Tzemach, a word signifying that " out- 
spring " from the earth, which results from the spring 
of the year. It is most unfortunate that, in the E. V., 
this word should have been translated "Branch" 
thus hiding from the English reader a very beautiful 
and suggestive thought. 

In the passages which follow I shall indicate the 
root Tzemach, whether as a verb or as a substantive, 
by giving the translation in italics. 

(Is. iv. 2.) 

In that day there shall be 
The outspring of Jahve as a beauty and pride, 
And the fruit of the land as a glory and boast 
For the remnant of Israel. 

Here the " outspring of Jahve " answers to the 
"fruit of the Land" in the parallel line. It is called 



vin] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 145 

the "outspring of J alive" because He makes it to 
spring forth as it is said of Paradise, Gen. ii. 9, "And 
out of the ground Jahve Elohim made to spring 
every tree that was pleasant to the sight and good 
for food." 

Such was the intention of God in Creation. This 
intention was hindered by the Fall in which Earth 
is represented as sympathising. "Thorns also and 
thistles shall it (i.e. the Earth) make to spring for 
thee" (Gen. iii. 18). But, though hindered, the pur- 
pose of God still remains and is manifested in the 
parable of every spring. It is He who " maketh the 
grass to spring for the cattle" (Ps. civ. 14); ''causing 
the mountains to spring with grass " (Ps. cxlvii. 8). 

But, in another sense, the earth may be said to 
"bring forth fruit of itself"; consequently Tzemach 
may be applied to the earth ; and, as such, it is fre- 
quently used collectively, e.g. Ezek. xvi. 7 " the out- 
spring (E. V. the bud) of the field " ; Hos. viii. 7 " the 
outspring (E.V. bud) shall yield no meal." 

These two closely related thoughts must be borne 
in mind, forming, as they do, a parable of the Christ. 
The "outspring" is God's, inasmuch as He, the "Sun 
of Righteousness," makes it to grow. But the " out- 
spring" is the earth's since the earth "bringeth forth 
fruit of itself.'' 

The Second Isaiah expresses a similar thought 
only that, in his case, the picture is not that of a Sun 

K. 10 



146 THE OUTSPRING [ch. 

of righteousness but rather of a rain of righteous- 
ness from heaven which the thirsty earth should 
drink in and thereby become fruitful (cf. Hos. x. 12). 
Thus: 

(Is. xlv. 8.) 

Ye heavens shower down from ab6ve, 
Ye skies pour down with Righteousness, 
Let them fruit with Salvation — earth open, 
Let Righteousness spring forth at once, 
I, Jahve, I have created it. 

Again, 

(Is. lxi. 11.) 

For as earth brings forth her outspring, 
And as garden makes s6eds to spring out, 
So Jahve makes Righteousness spring, 
Even praise before all the nations. 

Jeremiah associates this thought of the "out- 
spring" with a personal Deliverer of the family of 
David. 

(Jer. xxiii. 5 f.) 

Behold the days are coming, saith Jahve, 
That I raise up for David a righteous otitspring, 
And a King shall reign and pr6sper, 
And shall execute judgement and righteousness on earth. 
In his days shall Judah be saved, 
And israel dwell in security: 
And this is his name they shall call (him) 
J&hve our Righteousness. 



vni] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 147 

(Jer. xxxiii. 15.) 
I raise up for Daxid an outspring of righteousness 
And he shall execute judgement and righteousness on 6arth. 
In those days shall Jiidah be saved, 
And Jerusalem dwell in security : 
And this is what they shall call (it) 
Jahve our Righteousness. 

If we may trust the text in these closely 
related passages, we see that while one speaks of a 
u righteous outspring" who is himself to be called 
"Jahve our righteousness" the other speaks of an 
"out-spring of righteousness" in the earth, which is 
to bear the Name of Him who produces it, and is to be 
called " Jahve our righteousness/' Both thoughts are 
needed. In Palestine, where the winter rains were 
followed by an almost tropical growth, the outburst, 
the spring, was well fitted to be a parable of the 
New Creation. 

Thus Joel (ii. 21 ft'.) says : 
21 Fear not O earth ; , be joyful and glad, 

For Jahve is doing great things. 
29 Fear not, ye beasts of the field; 

For the pasture* of the wilderness are sprouting; 

For the trees are giving their fruit, 

Both fig-tree and vine are yielding their strength. 
2o So ye children of Zion be joyful and glad 

In Jahve your G6d: 

For to you He hath given the rain for righteousne--. 

There is a play upon the word moreh, u rain " in 
the last line. It denotes the "former rain" i.e. the 



148 THE OUTSPRING [ch. 

heavy rain at the beginning of the winter, but it also 
signifies "a teacher." According to the Prophet's 
thought the earth and the beasts have cause to rejoice ; 
but the "Children of Zion" should see something 
deeper in this parable of God's gift of rain which 
should speak to them of the growth of righteousness. 
So, too, the words which follow speak of " the latter 
rain in the first {month)" E. V. or " the latter rain 
first of all" Here again a double meaning is in- 
tended: the "latter rain" is in the first (spring) 
month, but truly it is "first of all " in reference to 
the "afterwards" (v. 28, Heb. iii. l)when God would 
" pour out His Spirit upon all flesh." The first out- 
pouring is a parable of the second. Again, 

(Is. lxvii. 10 f.) 

For like as the rain cometh down 

And the snow out of heaven, 

Nor retiirneth again, 

Until it have watered the earth, 

And made it to bring forth and spring ; 

Giving both seed to the sower, 

And bread to the eater: 

S6 shall it be with My Word 

That cometh forth from My Mouth; 

It shall not return to Me empty, 

Until it have done what I will, 

And have prospered in that which I send it. 

In the times of the Prophet Zechariah Tzemach 
had become personified. Thus, iii. 8 ; " Hear now 



vin] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 149 

Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit 
before thee; for men of typical-import they are: — 
For behold I am going to bring My servant Tzemach 
— And he it is that shall build the temple of Jahve, 
and he it is that shall bear the dignity ; and shall sit 
and rule upon his throne, and the counsel of peace 
shall be between them both." 

And again, vi. 12: 'Behold the man whose name 
is Tzemach (the outspring) ; from his own place he 
shall spring up and build the temple of Jahve/ 

Thus Zechariah regarded Joshua and Zerubbabel, 
the Temple-builders of his own day, merely as types 
of the true Temple-builder who was to come. This 
true Temple-builder he calls by the name Tzemach 
thereby associating him with the thoughts which we 
have already considered. 

We must, however, briefly allude to a remark- 
able development of the word Tzemach whereby it 
came to denote not merely the outsprhig from the 
ground but the outspring of light, i.e. the dayspring. 
This arose, in part, from the use of dvaroXrj for 
Tj mach in the Greek versions. For dvaro\^ has 
both meanings; it signifies that which springs from 
the ground (see Ezek. xvi. 7, xvii. 9 f. and compare 
Gen. xix. 25; Ps. lxiv. (lxv.) 11) and also the out- 
spring of light, the dayspring (Jer. xxiii. 5 ; xxxiii. 
15, Theod. and Sym. ; Zech. iii. 8, vi. 12). In the 
later Hebrew and Syriac the root Tzemach tended 

10—3 



150 THE OUTSPRING [ch. 

more towards the secondary meaning of the day- 
spring. Thus the " Day spring from on high" (Lk. i. 
78) is to be traced to the group of Tzemach prophecies. 

There is a fine poetical passage in Ps. lxv. 10 — 14 
where the course of God's bounty through the year is 
compared to the laden wagon of a " harvest-home," 
dropping its richness as its goes. 

I confess I can make nothing of the metre of w. 
10, 11, but vv. 12 — 14 are in three beats. 

10 Thou hast visited the earth and saturated her, 
Enriching her with the water-full stream of God : 

11 Watering her furrows, levelling her ridges, 

Thou mellowest her with rain-drops, Thou blessest her 
outspring. 

12 Thou hast crowned the year of Thy goodness; 
And Thy wheel -tracks drop with plenty. 

13 They drop on the wilderness-pastures, 
And the hills are girdled with joy. 

14 The meadows are clothed with fl6cks ; 
And the valleys are covered with corn ; 
They shout for joy — yea sing. 

The reader will notice the reference to Tzemach 
in v. 11. 

Again, in the Psalm of the three-fold priestly 
Blessing (Ps. lxvii.) the pledge of the Blessing for the 
world is found in the fruitful season, though in this 
case the word Tzemach is not used: 

Ii]arth hath yielded her increase ; 
God our God will bless us. 



viii] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 151 

Compare also Ezek. xxxiv. 27, Zech. viii. 12. 

These thoughts of the earth's fertility are coupled 
with the advent of a Prince of Peace in Ps. lxxii., 
just as in the Prophets. 

1 Give Thy judgements, God, to the King, 
Thy righteousness unto the Prince. 

2 May he right Thy People with mercy, 
And Thy Poor-ones with justice. 

3 May the mountains uplift their peace. 
And the hills with righteousness.... 

4 May he judge the poor of the People, 
May he save the sons of the needy : — 

And crush the oppressor. 

5 May he lengthen out (days) with the sun, 
With the moon for endless ages. 

Coming down like rain upon grass, 
As the drops that drip on the earth. 

7 Righteousness will bloom in his days, 
Great peace till moons be no more. 

8 So he rules from sea to sea, 

From the River to bounds of earth. 

9 Before him foes bow down 
And his enemies lick the dust. 

10 The Kings of the Isles and of Tarshish | bring their gifts, 
The Kings of Sheba and Seba \ offer their presents. 

1 1 All Kings bow down unto him ; | all nations do service. 
IS For he frees the poor that crieth ; | the afflicted and 

hflpkw. 

13 He pities the poor and the needy; 
Yea the souls of the needy he saves. 

1 4 From violence and wr6ng he redeems them ; 
And their blood, in his sight, is precious. 



152 THE OUTSPRING [ch. 

15 

So the prayer for him is continuous ; | all day do they bless 
him. 

16 Let the outspread of corn be on earth | to the top of the hills. 
Let its fruitage rustle like Lebanon: 

So they blossom [from the city 1 ] as the herbage of the earth. 

17 May his name endure for ever; 
May his name increase with the sun. 

The growing light and strength of the sun through 
the year is regarded as a type of the great year of 
Eternity, in which the Sun of Righteousness with 
increasing light will bring forth more and more fruit 
from humanity. 

We pass now to vv. 10 — 14 of Ps. lxxxv. where 
the metre is very clearly marked in three beats. The 
Psalm anticipates the return of the Divine Glory to 
earth. 

10 His salvation is nigh to His fearers, 
That glory may dwell in our earth. 

11 Mercy and truth are met, 
Righteousness and peace have embraced. 

12 Truth from earth outsprings, 

And righteousness beams from Heaven. 

13 So Jahve gives the good, 

Our earth, too, gives her increase. 

14 Righteousness marches before Him, 
And keeps the way of His steps. 

1 I would suggest that the words "from the city," which break the 
metre, were introduced, as a gloss, to bring out the thought of the 
passage; the crop being not one of corn and flowers but of human 
righteousness. 



vni] THE POETRY OF THE SEASONS 153 

There is no passage in the Psalter that brings 
home the meaning of Tzemach more perfectly than 
this. As heaven and earth combine to produce the 
outcome of the seasons in the natural year, so, in 
God's great year, Heaven and earth will combine to 
produce the u man whose name is Tzemach ' and the 
fruits of the Spirit. To this thought I would apply 
the words of Browning: 

"And the emulous heaven yearned down, 
made effort to reach the earth, 
As the earth had done her best, in my passion 
to reach the skv. 3J 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Briggs, C. A. Study of Holy Scripture. 

Budde, K. Poetry (Hebreic). In Hastings' Diet, of Bible. A 

very useful Article. 
Cobb, W. H. A criticism of Systems of Heb. Metre (Oxford, 

1905). Contains a full bibliography up to 1904. 
Cooke, G. A. Hist, and Song of Deborah. 
Harper, A. The Song of Solomon. 
Kautzsch, E. Die Poesie und die poet. Biicher des Alt. Test. 

(1902). 

Outline of hist, of Literature of 0. T. (English Translation). 

Edition of Proverbs tcith critical Heb. text. 

King, E. G. The Psalms in three Collections (Deighton, 

Bell & Co.). 
Konig, E. Die Poesie des alten Testaments. Recently published. 

I have not yet seen this book. 
Moulton, R. G. The literary study of the Bible. 
Rothstein, J. W. Song of Songs. In Hastings' Diet, of Bible. 

Grundzilge des heb. Rhythmus (Leipzig, 1909). 

Zai>letal, 0. P. De Poesi Hebraeorum (1909). A hand-book of 

46 pages, written in Latin for School use. 

Das Deboralied. 



INDEX 



Accent, viii, ix, x 

Alexandrines, lines like, 67 

Alliteration, 9, 53 

Alphabet, order of, 54-56 ; poetry 
of, 54 ff. ; how divided for 
alphabetical poems, 62, 66, 
70, 71 f. 

Amos, uses the K'niah metre, 
39; paradox of,' 74; uses re- 
frain, 103 f. 

Archaisms, 7 : why not more 
frequent, 1 

Asaph, and Joseph, 22-24, 26, 
29; Asaph Psalms, 99 

Assonance, 127 

Assonance, and paronomasia, 
xii-xiv 

Assyria, EzekieFs poem on its 
fall, 43 f. 

Babylon, a dirge on its fall, 

44-47 
Bleat, used of the stag, and of 

the soul, 50 
Blessing of Jacob, 21 ff. ; Ps. 

lxxx. compared with, 27-29 
Book of Jashar, 3, 5, 17 
Book of the wars of Jahvf, 5 
Browning, 25, 99, 153 

Cain (Kenite), 2 

Cobb, Systems of Hebrew Metre, 

27 
Collections of Poetry, 4 f. 
Covenant, and number ten, 71 
Covenant, of Creation, and of 

David, 138 ff. 

David, 16 ; Elegy on Jonathan, 

17-21 
Days of Creation, 132 ff. 



Deborah, Song of, 6-14 

Deuteronomy, its promise of 
temporal prosperity needed 
supplementing, 75 f., 81 

Didactic poetry, 71 

Difficulty of determining laws 
of Heb. verse, xi 

Dragon of darkness, 139 

Dramatic lyrics, 121 ff. 

Duplicate texts, xi 

Ephraim, and " fruitfulness," 23 
Ezekiel, as a poet, 42 ff. 

Fable of Jotham, 14 f. 

Good God and good man, Psb. 
cxi., cxii., 68-71 

Habakkuk's difficulty, 76 
Harper, Dr, quoted, 125 f. 
Hedad, 53 

Ingathering, Feast of, 22 f. ; of 
sheep, 25 f. 

Isaiah, his lament for his people, 
49 ; Elegy on Moab, 53 ; his 
use of the refrain, 105 f.; his 
Song on Ariel, 127 f. ; Song 
of God's Vineyard, 129 ; on 
the outspring (Tzemach), 144 

Isaiah (the Second), on the 
Suffering Servant, 91-98 ; on 
the outspring (Tzemach), 
145 f., 148 

Jeremiah, use of Kinah metre, 
40 ; his life-task, 76 ff. ; on 
the New Covenant, Covenant 
of Creation, and of David, 138 

Joel, 52 



156 



INDEX 



Jonathan, the roebuck of Israel, 

18 f. 
Joseph, Messiah ben, 29 
Judah, blessing on, 29-32 

Kautzsch, 20 

Kenites, the smiths of the 
ancient world ; see also Cain 

KfNAH, the lament for the dead, 
applied to death of nations 
by the Prophets, 39 ff. ; wider 
use of this metre, 48 ff. 

Lamentations, Book of, 54 ff. 

Megiddo, effect of the battle, 76 
Metre, denned, x 

Noah, covenant of, 139 

Orthodoxy of Job's friends, 81 f. 

Outspring (Tzemach, E.V., 
badly, " Branch "), from the 
earth, of righteousness, of 
light from heaven, personi- 
fied, 144-153 

Parallelism, vi-viii 
Poetry, religious, defined, v 
Problem, Why do the righteous 
suffer ? Amos, Habakkuk, 
Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, 
Psalms, Job, Second Isaiah, 
74-102 

Befrain, in rhetoric, 103 f. ; in 
poetry, 50 ff., 80, 111 f., 114 f. 



Eeuss, quoted, 4 
Bothstein, 49, 110 f. 

Seasons, poetry of, 132 ff. 
Servant (of God), applied to 

Israel, 78 ff., 90 ff. 
Shelley, 132, 133 
Shepherd, of the stars, 25 ; of 

Israel, 26 ff. ; Psalm of the 

Good, 117 f. 
Solomon, 3, 5 f. ; Song of (Song 

of Songs), 121 ff. 
Song, of Lamech, 1 ; of De- 
borah, 6 ff. ; of Moses, 32 ff. ; 

on Ariel, 127 f. ; on God's 

Vineyard, 129 
Speaker, change of, sometimes 

indicated by change of metre, 

121, 123, 128 ; in Second 

Psalm, 138 
Strophe, 103 ff. 

Taunt-songs, 5, 9, 11 ff. 

Teaching of the Twelve 
Apostles, on Vine of David, 
129 

Theophany, God's kingdom on 
earth established by, 34 ff. 

Truth, the Seal of God, 71 

Tzemach, " outspring " from 
the earth, 144 ff. ; " out- 
spring " of light, 149 f. 

Vine of David, 31, 129 

Zapletal, 9 



CAMBRIDGE '. PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, M.A. AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS